NEWTON Stewart’s Alan Hedley has been cleared of killing his long-term partner after she was found in their home with head injuries in May 2010.
Wendy Kelly, 32, was discovered by 44-year old Hedley in what he thought was a drunken sleep after a night drinking at their Hillview Terrace home and left her to sleep it off. But when he returned from the shops, he found her condition to have worsened and an ambulance was called.
Hedley was eventually charged with culpable homicide and it was claimed she died from a punch which caused her to hit her head in May 2010.
He denied the offence and a judge found there was no evidence the death had been caused by an unlawful act.
Ms Kelly died the following day in Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary from a head injury.
During the trial there was no evidence to indicate that Ms Kelly had suffered the injury at the hands of Mr Hedley.
There was also no evidence to prove that the injury had happened in the home the couple shared.
After hearing legal submissions from solicitor advocate Bill McVicar, temporary judge Alastair Stewart QC told Mr Hedley: “There is no evidence that the death of the deceased was caused by an unlawful act.
“You are acquitted of the charge of culpable homicide and are free to leave the dock.”
Mr Hedley was also accused of a string of assaults on Ms Kelly between 2004 and 2010 and the court heard that the couple had a volatile relationship.
Advocate depute Jonathan Brodie QC said: “Since it was the culpable homicide that brought this issue to the High Court I intend to withdraw all the other charges against Mr Hedley.”
In evidence, a next-door neighbour, John O’Neill, said that on the night of 16 May 2010 he heard a “shuddering thud” while he was lying on the couch.
The next morning he was called next door where Ms Kelly was lying on the floor unconscious.
He said the couple argued a lot and the weekend before Ms Kelly died they had argued on and off for about 12 hours.
Ms Kelly’s mother Wendy Briggs told the court the couple had a difficult relationship, but added: “I know she loved him.”