A PHYSIOTHERAPIST cracked a wine glass over the head of her surgeon partner after he compared her with an orangutan during a New Year bust-up, Selkirk Sheriff Court has been told.

Sara Knight was arrested by police the following day and was set to lose her job working in the intensive care department of a Fife hospital because of the conviction.

But the 45-year-old was shown mercy by a sheriff who took the unusual step of granting her an absolute discharge which means it won't show up on her record.

Knight and partner Paul Gaston - who is an Edinburgh-based consultant orthopaedic surgeon - had travelled to the Berwickshire village of Coldingham to spend New Year and to sort out their relationship which had hit difficulties.

But the court was told matters became even more strained on New Year's Day when Mr Gaston, 48, light-heartedly compared her with looking like an orangutan Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser said: "They had been out in Coldingham during the day and came back at about 3pm.

"Mr Gaston made some unflattering comments about her appearance and she took offence to this. "He had referred to her as looking as an orangutan and things went from bad to worse.

"She went into a bedroom to calm down and he came in to speak to her. He was holding a glass of red wine which he put down and then she picked it up and struck him over the head with it"

Mr Fraser said Mr Gaston suffered a cut on his arm.

He added that Knight sent him a very apologetic text to him but 'it was clear that the relationship is over'.

It is understood the matter was reported to the police when Mr Gaston discussed it with family members the following day.

The relationship had been experiencing difficulties as Knight was unhappy with the amount of time Mr Gaston was spending with the mother of his children.

Defence lawyer Greg McDonnel said the case could have tragic consequences for his client and her important job at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy with NHS Fife.

He explained: "There were certain comments earlier when they had been drinking wine and when a picture of an orangutan appeared on an IPad he made a comment which upset her.

"She went away to a bedroom but he attempted to push his way in.

"He refused to go and she deeply regrets what she did."

Knight was arrested the following day at her home in Giles Street, Edinburgh, and spent the night at Dalkeith Police Station before appearing from custody at Selkirk Sheriff Court on Thursday.

Knight pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Gaston at farm cottages near Coldingham on New Year's Day by striking him on the head with a drinking glass to his injury.

Noting she was a first offender and her exemplary work record, Sheriff Derrick McIntyre told Knight: "It would be a shame if the NHS lost your expertise over this."

He granted her an absolute discharge.