By Cara Sulieman
A THUG battered his girlfriend in a horrific assault just hours after being released early from a prison sentence for an earlier attack on her.
Patrick McGinlay, 46, repeatedly head butted partner Shirley Grant on the same day he was released from HMP Saughton, just halfway into an eight month sentence for another assault.
Ms Grant was rushed to hospital for treatment following the sickening attack on May 13.
And when cops confronted McGinlay about the incident he spat in the face of one of the officers before being hauled back to jail.
Yesterday (Tuesday) at Edinburgh Sheriff Court he pled guilty to assaulting Ms Grant to her injury.
He also admitted assaulting PC Alan Sheill by spitting in his face.
Last night Scottish Conservative justice spokesman John Lamont hit out at the practice of automatic early release for offenders.
He said: “I think there is huge distress among the public that when a court passes sentence then very rarely does the person serve the full time behind bars.
“There is great concern and frustration that so many people are let out early.”
Depute fiscal John Kirk said that the violent attack had been fuelled by alcohol.
He told the court: “Mr McGinlay was released from Saughton on May 13 on early released for assaulting the self same complainer.
“They met up that morning and went to the complainer’s house.
“Both parties consumed a lot of drink and during the course of the day the complainer was turned upon by the panel who repeatedly head butted her to the face.”
Ms Grant then left to go to a friend’s house where the police were called before taken to hospital. Mr Kirk handed up “graphic” photographs of her horrific injuries.
Mr Kirk added: “Whilst they (the police) were waiting for a van to attend he spat in the face of one of the officers who was holding him.”
His defence agent, Jonathan Campbell, said that McGinlay had been trying to deal with his booze problem in jail, but that his relationship with Ms Grant only made the problem worse.
He told Sheriff Derrick McIntyre: “He has a history of significant alcohol problems and he accepts he is an alcoholic.
“The relationship was destructive in its nature on part of both parties.
“During his time in custody the complainer had made efforts to regain contact with him. She came to visit him and sent him letters.
“On his release he made the misguided decision to drink. It had a significant impact on him.
“His recollection of events afterwards are hazy.”
Mr Campbell added: “The complainer no longer resides in Scotland and there will be no future contact.
“Mr McGinlay now realises that they are better off without each other.
“He accepts full responsibility and is very much ashamed of his actions.”
Sheriff McIntyre deferred sentencing until later this week to consider the case.