Scottish rugby star's campaign of domestic abuse laid bare, after he left girlfriend with split lip and black eye

19 January 2023, 11:53

Rufus McLean
Rufus McLean. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

A Scottish rugby international gave his girlfriend a split lip and a black eye, while demanding social media passwords and putting a tracking device on her phone.

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Rufus McLean, 22, waged a 20-month campaign of domestic abuse against his partner, and admitted inflicting the injuries on the 21-year-old by pushing her off him in one incident.

He also sent her a litany of abusive text messages calling her a s*** and a b***.

McLean pleaded guilty in December to engaging in "emotionally abusive and controlling" behaviour between April 2019 and January 2021.

He arrived for sentencing on Wednesday, but the judge deferred this. He was suspended by his club. Glasgow Warriors, on Wednesday.

Rufus McLean
Rufus McLean. Picture: Getty

The club said in a statement: "Rufus McLean is suspended from all club activity and is unavailable for selection following a guilty plea to charges under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 in December 2022.

"Glasgow Warriors does not condone abuse of any kind and therefore, along with Scottish Rugby, immediately suspended the player following his plea.

"An internal investigation has been instigated and a disciplinary hearing will be held this week."

The club added: "Legal proceedings in this matter are not concluded, therefore no further comment will be made at this time."

Rufus McLean
Rufus McLean. Picture: Getty

The court heard previously how McLean and his girlfriend were in an on/off relationship for two years, before a permanent relationship began in April 2019.

His victim, who described the rugby player as "emotionally controlling and abusive", said how he saw a photo of her on holiday in Spain and told her to change, calling her "a s***".

She refused, and he began sending abusive messages to her and her friends.

Another time, they were in his flat in Glasgow when she woke him up to talk, and he pushed her away, giving her the facial injuries.

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She was scared and took photos to show her mother how he hurt her.

On a third occasion, McLean saw a photo of the victim with a man she had previously gone on a date with, before her relationship with the rugby player.

McLean became angry on seeing the photo and pushed the woman over. He "continued to shout at her and she pleaded with him to stop," the court heard.

He later "grabbed her wrist and pushed her back" after she followed him.

Police were called out to an "ongoing domestic incident" and found the victim crying and with a red arm.

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McLean's lawyer asked for an absolute discharge so the player would not have a criminal record, which would affect his playing career further.

Presiding, Sheriff Auchinloss deferred sentencing until February so a report to be prepared on whether McLean is suitable for a project examining the behaviour of male domestic abusers.

He added that he would consider putting a non-harassment order in place against McLean at the next hearing.

McLean, who plays on the wing or at fullback, has played 24 times for Glasgow since making his debut in 2020. He gained his first cap for the Scottish national team in 2021, and has played three times.