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Former SNP councillor escapes jail after sex attacks on three women

Lewis Ritchie was convicted of four sexual offences at Edinburgh Sheriff Court following a two-day summary trial.

Credit Scottish Daily Express by John Glover reporter

14:39, 20 OCT 2022

Lewis Ritchie outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court
Lewis Ritchie (Image: Alexander Lawrie)

A former SNP councillor has been ordered to carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work after he was convicted of four sexual offences .

Café owner Lewis Ritchie, 38, was given the sentence following a two-day summary trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court following the string of sex attacks on three women.

The court heard how Ritchie forced his tongue in one victim’s mouth after demanding “a proper kiss” following an SNP event.

Another woman who was employed by him revealed how on another occasion he began to “squeeze past her” and touched her on the buttocks several times.

She said the accused on one occasion forcibly slapped her on the left buttock. Minutes later, despite her protests, he repeated the offence so hard it left bruising.

A third victim revealed how she was sharing an Airbnb in Glasgow with several other women after a political event. Ritchie then “invited” himself to stay at the same property and later turned up drunk at midnight.

During the night the woman woke to find Ritchie standing over her wearing nothing but boxer shorts and trying to get into bed with her.

He told her he only wanted to “cuddle and sleep”. The woman, who was convinced Ritchie’s motivations were sexual, said his actions had left her feeling “violated” and “alarmed”.

Police launched an investigation after the accused was reported by his former employee. Ritchie was ordered to carry out the unpaid work over a period of nine months.

Peter McClelland, Procurator Fiscal for Lothian and Borders, commended all the women for bravely testifying against the former Leith councillor. He said: “This man was in a position of some public standing.

“The witnesses showed considerable courage in giving evidence against him. We encourage people to come forward and report crimes of this nature.”