A Kilsyth police officer who worked and lived in Cumbernauld is currently behind bars and awaiting a jail sentence for domestic violence.
Detective Constable Steven Riding (46), who served 24 years as a policeman, was found guilty at Airdrie Sheriff Court this week after an eight day trial.
The former drugs squad officer is currently suspended by Police Scotland.
Riding, who served in Cumbernauld until 2014 as a uniformed and later plainclothes officer, has been signed off since allegations were first made over two years ago, citing anxiety and depression.
Riding, who had no previous convictions, showed no emotion in the dock as the foreman of the jury delivered fifteen verdicts, nine of which were agreed unanimously. It took the seven men and eight women just over an hour to convict him of offences spanning almost 22 years between September 1, 1992 and April 23, 2014. Two other charges were dropped before and during the trial.
Riding, of Glen Garrell Place in Kilsyth. was remanded in custody after Sheriff Morag Galbraith withdrew his bail.
Proseuctor Liam Haggart said: “Susan Riding, Lorna Riding, Samantha Lindsay, three different ladies all beaten up by Steven Riding. The horrifying nature of life, with one common thread – Steven Riding. He made them feel wretched, worthless, poor and pathetic. They were all assaulted by the man that they loved. Remember their names.”
Stuart Brownlie, the 43-year-old brother of Riding’s first wife Susan, told the jury: “On January 14, 1995, we were in a house in South Dumbreck Road, Kilsyth, having a drink. It was the day before my wedding. Everything was quite merry then Steven came in and went ballistic. His face was red, he was shouting and punched my sister in the face, knocking her out cold. She slid down the wall. She was unconscious for a minute or two. She had to come to my wedding the next day wearing a big hat to hide her black and blue face.”
Riding and Susan met at the club night in Kilsyth Pentecostal Church when he was just 17 years old.
Susan’s mother, Margaret Brownlie (63), said: “By December 1996 the marriage was not in a good state. She was upset, crying, subdued anbd embarrassed to tell me what she eventually told me. I went to Riding’s house and was told it was none of my business. He couldn’t care less. He denied physically and mentally abusing my daughter.”
Riding also physically abused Susan while they lived at a house in Hazel Road, Banknock.
In February 2002, some time after divorcing Susan, Riding married Lorna King, his second wife. Lorna was a civilian employee of the former Strathclyde Police. She told the jury: “I was 33 when I met Mr Riding. I had previously been married six years with two children. My ex-husband was prominent in public life in Scotland.”
She then told of the series of assaults and beatings she took from Riding during their seven year marriage, during which time they lived at three separate addresses in Cumbernauld and Bishopbriggs. “There was one time he punched me three times to one arm,” Lorna said. ” I had heard that in his previous marriage his wife refused to pay utility bills. He went through my handbag and found a utility bill reminder. That was why he assaulted me. I was in great pain.
“When I went upstairs sitting on the bed asking me not to put him through that again. I had seen the expression on his face before and was fearful.
“On another occasion we went to Airth Castle after he had been on a course at Tulliallan Police College. He was late and appeared quite distant. It was early in the relationship. The next day he was very defensive about his mobile phone. He hit me with his right hand to the back of my neck. I tried to get away, but I was only 5’2”, he was 6’1” and 20 stones at the time. I was crying, left and drove home. Another time he pulled me from the bedroom into the hallway by the neck. I can’t remember if I was screaming or shouting for him to stop.”
She then told the jury that a year after they were married she found pornography on his computer. She explained how she found phone calls he made to porn sites, Visa statements from porn companies, but explained it was all “legal porn.”
Lorna added: “It played a heavy part of his life.”
The attacks continued and she went on: “His roar reminded me of a gorilla. As time moved on I could anticipate when he was becoming angry. One time he had me by the throat and I had to wear a scarf to work as the next day there was bruising to my throat. Another time he pushed down on me forcibly to the floor. I was crying. There was emotional abuse every three or four weeks and when it was physical it was always the neck and throat in a restraining way.”
Lorna went to the professional standards unit at Strathclyde Police Pitt Street HQ.
“They told me they weren’t the moral police,” added his second wife, who went on to carry out civilian roles within the police Family Protection Unit, Force Intelligence and Special Operations, during her 12 years service.
He met his third victim Samantha Lindsay, on an Internet site connected to biking. She was his partner, but never married to Riding. Samatha also had a love of horses and worked in nearby stables. The attacks on Samantha took place at their home in Auchinvole Crescent, Kilsyth.
She gave evidence behind screens, to avoid being able to see the thug cop sitting in the dock, said: “He whacked me across the face five or six times on one occasion. My head shook. It was always over arguments over money. Once I had a riding hat on when he hit me and my head still shook.
“I was confused and didn’t know what to do. I felt vulnerable, after all, he was a policeman and was untouchable. My mind was all over the place. I was trembling, scared and almost like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
She sent a text to Riding’s sister Elaine Adoo, 44, who lives in Antrim, Northern Ireland, saying “help, he’s at it again.” The couple had no further contact since April 2014, after all three women gave statements to police and Riding was arrested and charged.
Questioned by defence counsel Niall McCluskey, Riding, who spent six years in the high profile Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency, claimed his first wife Susan kept a kitchen knife under a pillow. In another question by his counsel he couldn’t even remember the name of a woman from Cumbria he had a relationship with for nine months after separating from his second wife. He had to be reminded her name was Julia Wilson.
Riding, asked why the three women would make these allegations, answered: “Since 1996 my first wife held a grudge. The second is lying, they are both lying, they are all lying. It just didn’t happen.”
Asked by the fiscal, Mr Haggart: “Why if there was no conspiracy did they all describe the same look in your eyes, your demeanour of puffing out your chest in a similar fashion.”
Riding said: “I don’t know.”
Sheriff Morag Galbraith told Riding: “I am clearly going to need reports. In light of the jury verdicts bail will be withdrawn and you will be remanded in custody.”
The sheriff called for a Criminal Justice Social Work Report.
A Police Scotland spokesperson, who confirmed Riding had been suspended with immediate effect following his conviction and remand, said: “We are aware of the outcome and can confirm a report will be prepared for the Deputy Chief Constable for his consideration.”