Ex-Saints star not guilty of assault

Sean Long arrives at St Helens Magistrates' Court for a previous hearing
Sean Long arrives at St Helens Magistrates' Court for a previous hearing

A JUDGE cleared ex-Saints star Sean Long of assaulting a disabled mum yesterday amid “question marks” over her evidence.

District Judge Ian Lomax said he was prepared to give the former rugby star “the benefit of the doubt” in light of Pamela Twist’s “reluctance to answer the most basic questions”.

Ms Twist, Long’s former tenant, claimed the 37-year-old verbally abused her at her Rainford home on May 17 last year before strangling her and causing her to “black out”.

But Long insisted he wasn’t even there and produced evidence that he had signed in at a gym in Golborne just 25 minutes before the time of the alleged assault.

After the verdict was announced Long’s manager, Graeme Taylor, said: “It’s been a very traumatic 18 months and Sean is ultimately relieved and happy at the judge’s verdict. He would now like to get on with his life and his coaching career.”

During a tense two-day trial, Ms Twist claimed Long grabbed her around the throat in full view of children playing in the back garden of her Lakeside Gardens home.

She also claimed that an intimidating associate of Long warned her that he could “make people disappear” and wept when a recording of her distressed 999 call was played.

Prior to the alleged assault, Ms Twist and her ex-husband, Paul, had rented Long’s luxury five-bedroom home on Smithy Glen Drive, Billinge.

Sean Joyce, defending Long, claimed Ms Twist had “fled” his client’s property because she had run up a series of debts and owed three months’ rent. He also alleged that she had set up a fraudulent online shopping account in the name of Long’s estranged wife, Claire.

Mr Joyce described Ms Twist as “defiant, hostile and aggressive”, the assault allegation as “purely vindictive” and a doctor said photos of her injuries were more consistent with “flushing due to stress or emotion”.

Long said thousands of pounds worth of electrical items had disappeared from his house when the Twist’s left and that his £500,000 home was trashed. He also told how he had broken his thumb and “couldn’t even grip a bottle”.