Swindon Town coach Ady Williams admits assaulting former partner

This Is Wiltshire: Ady Williams leaving North West Wiltshire magistrates court Ady Williams leaving North West Wiltshire magistrates court

A SWINDON Town coach could be sacked for assaulting his former partner.

Ady Williams, 37, of Westlecot Road, Old Town, pleaded guilty to attacking former beauty queen Sarah-Jane Howe after an argument over a football match.

The father-of-two, who is the club’s reserve team coach, said he had been left distressed by news about a sick relative and Ms Howe’s unsympathetic reaction, North West Wiltshire magistrates heard.

The assault took place after Town’s match with Leicester City in the early hours of November 16 at Ms Howe’s home at The Mead, Ashton Keynes.

The couple had been arguing over whether two of Ms Howe’s children should go to the Leicester game at the County Ground, the court heard.

Williams pushed Ms Howe, causing her to bang her head, and stamped on her foot, the prosecution said.

Richard Thomas, prosecuting, said Ms Howe claimed that Williams had said he wanted to kill her and pulled her hair, but this was denied by the former Wales international.

Ms Howe, a former Miss Swindon, was left with bruising to her foot and toes making it painful to walk, a sore knee and head and tenderness on her upper arms.

Rachel Drake, defending, said her client was of good character and would have entered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity had it not been for difficulties agreeing on the basis of plea.

This offence and possible trial had therefore been hanging over Williams since January, she said.

Miss Drake said that Williams had on the evening in question been distressed by the news that his uncle was seriously ill and might not survive the night, but Ms Howe had not been supportive.

“If he hadn’t suffered this bereavement the violence that took place between Mr Williams and Ms Howe would never have happened,” said Miss Drake.

She said that it was very likely that as a result of his plea his employment with Swindon Town would end and that would have an effect on his family.

“The consequences in this case in themselves are perhaps the greatest punishment to Mr Williams,” said Miss Drake.

Magistrate Deborah Couzens said Williams’ early guilty plea had been noted, but that a community order could not be avoided because of the injuries and the fact that a child was present for some of the altercation.

“You were subject to provocation and you had difficulties with the illness and subsequent death of your uncle,” she added.

The case was adjourned until April 8 for a probation report and Williams was released on conditional bail.

After the hearing Ms Howe, who hit the headlines for having a double mastectomy in 2006 despite being healthy because a family history of breast cancer meant she had an 85 to 90 per cent chance of developing the disease, said she disputed the way the facts had been presented in court.

She said: “I’m very sad that our relationship ended this way.

“I totally loved and supported Ady throughout the 22 months we were together and domestic violence of any sort be it physical or mental is very destructive for all involved.

“Wiltshire Police have a zero tolerance policy on domestic violence and support is there for women who wish to speak out.”

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