Woman fined for headbutting rival fan at under-15 football match.


A HOT-tempered mother head-butted another parent after tensions boiled over at an under-15s football match.

Christine Ruthven was fined for headbutting a rival mum at an under-15 football match.

Care worker Christine Ruthven broke rival supporter Heather Clarke’s nose during the kids’ game, a court heard.

The assault happened after Edinburgh City supporter Ms Clarke berated Inch Colts during the game in Edinburgh earlier this year.

The heated match in the city’s leafy suburb of Liberton had already seen a player and a coach from Inch Colts sent off.

After Ruthven’s attack, the referee – a medical student – stopped the game to treat the victim and then called the police.

Ruthven, 41, who was listed in court papers as living at 2 Brand Gardens, Edinburgh, admitted attacking Ms Clarke, on March 6.

Her plea of not guilty to assaulting Ms Clarke’s teenage daughter Kim Johnston, by punching her on the arm, was accepted by the Crown.

Fiscal depute Katrine Craig told Edinburgh Sheriff Court the attack happened at around 1.30pm after a boy was sent off and a one of the teams scored

“numerous’ goals.

She said: “Ms Clarke noticed Ruthven looking in her direction every time she cheered.

Towards the end of the match the victim noticed Ruthven make her way around the pitch towards her and a verbal argument ensued between them.

”At the end of this argument she head-butted Ms Clarke in the face and her nose began to bleed.

“Ruthven walked away. The referee then contacted the police and asked them to attend and Ruthven was arrested.”

When Ruthven was charged by the police she claimed

“it was self defence. I was hit first’, said the fiscal.

“The complainer sought medical attention and it was found she sustained a fracture to her nose,’ added Ms Craig.

The attack happened 10 minutes before the end just after theCity had scored their fourth goal.

The attack was only stopped when Ms Clarke’s daughter intervened, the fiscal said.

The court heard that married mum-of-one Ruthven, a first-offender, had a son of 14 and had been supporting youth football matches for 12 years.

Defence agent Vincent Belmonte said Ruthven had deliberately kept out of trouble at previous matches. He claimed she was reacting to abuse Ms Clarke had been shouting at the opposing team.

“Ms Clarke was not simply cheering,” he said. Mr Belmonte said the victim had been swearing at the opposition team and calling them ‘Inch scum’. This angered Ruthven very much, he said.

“She went round to her, the two parties went face-to-face and when things got out of hand Ruthven then attacked Ms Clarke’, he said.

“She had made a point of not getting into trouble, and regrets it very much. She was angry that the complainer could use such language at a children’s match.”

Mr Belmonte added:

“She committed the act for which she is charged. She regrets this very much. She felt she had to do something about it. “

Sheriff Graeme Warner said: “Even although you are a first offender, because of the nature and location of this offence, I am going to impose a fine.” Ruthven was ordered to pay a fine of 200.

At the time of the attack one neutral spectator said:

“This woman squared up to Heather, drew her head back and went boosh right in her face.

“Her nose was burst open.

“Heather had been overdoing it with the goal celebration, but just supporting her own. “

The case follows growing concern about the problem of verbal and physical violence among parents supporting their children at football matches.

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