A RIBBLE Valley hotelier has been acquitted of assaulting his partner on the day she was leaving him.

Blackburn magistrates heard Clare Hilary claim Brendan Woods had pulled out a clump of her hair as he tried to pull her back.

But the defence said the claim was a ‘total fabrication’ by Mrs Hilary whose aim was to get Woods convicted so he would lose his shotgun licence and be forced to get rid of his beloved guns.

Woods, 56, of the Copy Nook Hotel, Bolton-by-Bowland, pleaded not guilty to assaulting Mrs Hilary. He was acquitted after trial.

The court heard details of a turbulent relationship between the two which had resulted in Mrs Hilary calling the police four times in the last four years of the eight year relationship.

She said she had never pressed charges because she had invested nearly £100,000 in the business and wanted to protect her interests.

Colleen Dickinson-Jones, defending, suggested that on one occasion Mrs Hilary had thrown a cup of scalding hot tea over Woods.

“That’s not true,” said Mrs Hilary. She also denied belittling her partner in front of staff and customers.

Mrs Dickinson-Jones said Woods would suggest he was actually the victim. He claimed he had found a new partner and it was down to the aggrieved’s ‘jealousy and vindict-iveness’ that the allegation of assault had been made.

“This was a last ditch attempt by you to get his gun licence removed,” said Mrs Dickinson-Jones. “You made it clear you wanted to destroy him and a large part of his life is his guns.”

“No,” said Mrs Hilary.