A PRESTONPANS man who continued to harass a woman after the couple had broken up has been given his freedom – despite being sentenced to six months in jail.

Michael McKenzie, 23, had been seeing his ex-girlfriend for about six months before they separated around the turn of the year.

She had been on a night out in Edinburgh with friends in February when McKenzie turned up hoping to reconcile their relationship.

The woman decided to leave a pub in the early hours of the morning and was soon followed by McKenzie, who had hoped to go with her.

She refused his advances and managed to get into a taxi in a bid to get away from McKenzie.

But he stopped the vehicle and opened the passenger door and jumped into the cab uninvited.

A struggle then broke out between the pair with McKenzie grabbing hold of her wrists and digging his nails into her. He then punched her as the battle between them continued.

McKenzie appeared from custody at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last week, where he admitted the assault on his ex-girlfriend in February.

The court heard that the woman was described as “vulnerable” and she had told police there had been “no real relationship between them” before the assault.

Solicitor Colm Dempsey claimed that the couple had “quarrelled over a trivial matter” and the woman had only suffered “an insignificant injury” during the incident.

Mr Dempsey added that the woman refused to engage with police and had not made a statement regarding the incident.

He said that McKenzie had spent four months on remand and had a tenancy from East Lothian Council still open to him following a spell of homelessness.

Sheriff Donald Corke sentenced McKenzie to a six-month prison sentence, resulting in him being released from custody due to the time spent on remand.

Sheriff Corke also told McKenzie that he was barred from approaching or contacting the woman for the next 12 months as he was issuing a non-harassment order.

McKenzie pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-girlfriend by seizing her by the body and repeatedly striking her on the body to her injury at High Street, Edinburgh, on February 9.