A MAN has been cleared of carrying out a £95,000 extortion plot following a row involving Rangers star Kenny Miller and his wife.
William Steele, 36, was alleged to have demanded the cash from a restaurant boss and members of his family after the fall-out.
Mr Steele, of Eaglesham, has been found not guilty after Hamilton Sheriff Court heard the Crown were no longer seeking a conviction on the allegations.
Mr Steele still faces claims he was unlawfully in possession of a knife in September last year and also allegations he behaved in a threatening and abusive manner while brandishing a blade in Bothwell.
Further allegations he threatened to stab Stacey O’Donnell, 28, and her father Hugh, 60, were also dropped by prosecutors.
Mr Steele’s trial had earlier heard claims he threatened restaurant manager William McDonald, 23, and his girlfriend after telling them he was at their house on behalf of Miller.
He was alleged to have visited William McDonald and Ashley O’Donnell following a Old Firm derby day bust-up where Miller’s wife Laura lost a pair of £40,000 earrings.
The claim emerged in a statement Mr McDonald gave to police following the alleged incident at his home in Bothwell.
He told officers Steele said, ‘I’m here for Kenny Miller’, before demanding £50,000 for Mrs Miller’s earrings, a handbag and designer sunglasses.
Steele was then alleged to have made a string of threats against Mr McDonald that left him believing he could be shot.
Steele had also faced claims he attempted to extort £45,000 from Hugh O’Donnell, 60, by threatening to harm him and members of his family at an address in Bothwell.
But depute fiscal Michael Macintosh told Sheriff Ray Small: “In relation to the charges involving extortion, the Crown would formally move to withdraw them and are no longer seeking a conviction.”
The trial had heard a statement from Katy Stevenson, 28, who told police she saw a man with a knife threatening her friend Stacey O’Donnell at Da Luciano’s following an Old Firm game in September last year.
She told officers: “A guy got out a jeep and was walking towards us and I heard him saying stuff.
“He had his hood up and he had a knife out in his hand and was opening and closing the knife, it was a swing blade that was three or four inches long.
“He came up to us and I heard Stacey pleading with him that children were there, she was pregnant and not to do anything.”
The trial continues.