A COCKENZIE woman who kicked a homeless man in the head as he fought with her boyfriend has avoided a jail sentence.

Karen Cosgrove, 38, stepped in to help partner Stephen McKinnon as he struggled with homeless Anthony McAleese in Edinburgh city centre.

McKinnon was seen chasing the man behind the Capital’s St James Centre before pulling him to the ground and punching him to the head.

McKinnon, 36, then repeatedly punched the man before Cosgrove joined in the attack and kicked Mr McAleese to the head as he lay on the ground.

The homeless man was rushed to hospital and then a dental hospital for treatment to his face and had his two front upper teeth reattached during surgery.

Cosgrove and McKinnon, both of North Lorimer Place, both admitted their guilt to an amended assault charge during a previous hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

The court was told that Cosgrove, who appeared from custody, was already serving a custodial sentence for a previous assault charge.

Last Wednesday, Sheriff Frank Crowe decided to spare Cosgrove further jail time and ordered her to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work in the community to mark the offence.

The sheriff also told Cosgrove that she will be supervised for the next 12 months and that she must attend Connect group sessions as part of a conduct requirement when she is released from her current prison term today (Thursday).

Solicitor Angela Craig told the court that her client McKinnon was not in attendance for the sentencing as he had broken his arm the previous day and was at hospital having it set.

Sheriff Crowe said he was content to defer sentence for his personal appearance to April 19.

Previously, the court was told that McKinnon and Cosgrove became involved in an altercation with the homeless man outside the back entrance to the John Lewis store and opposite the Omni Centre on July 12 last year.

Fiscal depute Naomi Warner said: “The accused McKinnon and the complainer appeared to be involved in an argument and the accused was seen pursuing the complainer towards the back entrance of John Lewis around 5.15pm.

“At that time a female witness with a young daughter saw McKinnon arguing with the complainer.

“She thought to intervene; however, as she tried to do that the accused repeatedly swung at him and punched him on the head.

“He then aimed a knee kick to the body and grabbed him and pulled him onto the ground, where he landed on the road.

“McKinnon got on top of him and repeatedly punched him on the head.

“The accused Cosgrove then got involved and proceeded to kick him on the head as he lay on the ground.”

Ms Warner added that a male road worker managed to intervene and separate them.

The fiscal said that the victim suffered the loss of two front teeth and also soreness and stiffness to the face.

He was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and told he must attend a dental hospital for treatment to his mouth injuries.