A top Tayside chef has been found guilty of assaulting his wife and causing her to plunge down a flight of stairs.
Police officers were scrambled to Lewis Donegan’s Perthshire home after a “dropped” 999 call, just before 11pm on March 10.
Wife Sinead made the silent call to emergency services after she was left injured and bruised at the bottom of her staircase following a drink-fuelled row with her husband.
Donegan, one of the founders of the popular Dundee Cooking Academy and a former contestant on TV’s Masterchef: The Professionals, was found guilty of domestic assault on Tuesday following a trial at Perth Sheriff Court.
The 34-year-old was cleared of a further allegation that he had assaulted his wife a few days earlier by striking her on the head.
Sinead, 32, told the court that she had been drinking at the family home in Colonsay Gardens, Inchture.
She said she followed her husband upstairs and they argued on the landing.
“There was screaming about something,” she said. “I can’t remember what the disagreement was about.
“Then there was a shove, and I ended up downstairs.”
She was shown a police photo of her bruised elbow, which she confirmed was a result of her fall.
Sinead told the trial she dialled 999, but hung up. “It was quite a serious thing to phone the police and I just didn’t want any trouble,” she said.
Officers arrived just before 11pm. Constable Sean Robertson, 28, told the court that there was signs of a disturbance in the home and that Sinead was visibly bruised and distressed.
He said Donegan was arrested on suspicion of domestic assault and taken to Perth Police Station for questioning.
In his interview, Donegan told investigators: “She pushed me, and I pushed her back.
“I shoved her and as a result of that, she fell down the stairs.”
Asked how it felt to have caused injury to his wife, Donegan replied: “Terrible.”
He denied that he was a controlling person. “Not at all,” he said. “I’m more of a concerned person.”
The court heard that the couple had reconciled and were back living together.
Solicitor Theo Finlay said: “He has no previous convictions and has never been in trouble before.
“It goes without saying that this is a highly regrettable incident. But I think it is fair to say, that there will never be a repetition of this.”
Sheriff Neil Bowie told Donegan: “It may not have been your intent to cause your wife to fall down the stairs, but I am satisfied it was your intention to physically assault her.
“She was intoxicated and it would not have been difficult for her to lose her footing.”
He deferred sentence for six months for Donegan to prove he can stay out of trouble.
The Dundee Cooking Academy opened in November 2019, offering guests a variety of cooking classes led by head chef tutor Donegan.
He began his career at the Hilton Dundee and went on to work in hotels and restaurants around Scotland.
According to his online biography, he has cooked lunched for the Queen.