A STUDENT accused of assaulting a retired medical consultant over some rat poison has been found not guilty at trail.

Chloe Smith, 19, of Roundell Drive, West Marton, claimed she pushed 59-year-old Dr Elizabeth McMillan, also of Roundell Drive, in self-defence after Dr McMillan had assaulted her, causing her to fall and smash her phone.

Prosecuting, Lydia Pearce told Skipton magistrates on Tuesday that Smith had driven to Dr McMillan’s house at around 5.45pm on June 20 this year after she had finished a shift at work.

The reason was to confront the complainant about some rat poison she had placed in her own garden, legally, to get rid of rats from a nearby farm.

Ms Pearce said Smith began shouting at the complainant, who was also a former officer in the British Army, and assaulted her causing a cut near her eye and scratches to her face and neck.

Dr McMillan said Smith was shouting and yelling and flew at her. She had pushed her away to close the door and was left shaken and upset.

Smith said it was Dr McMillan who began shouting and that she had pushed the complainant from her to protect herself because the complainant had grabbed her jacket.

She said all she wanted to do was find out if there was poison laid down and where it was.

Defending, Nicholas Dearing said the complainant had placed rat poison in her garden after seeing “poo”. She had told Smith’s step-father, John Dovener that she had seen his three dogs in her garden several times and that she had put the poison down. “After saying this she paused for a while before adding: ‘for the rats’,” he said.

Dr McMillan denied saying this and told the court she had not seen dogs in her garden and that a game keeper told her the faeces may have been from a fox.

She said she had told Mr Dovener about the poison in an act of “neighbourliness”.

She also said she had recently had spinal fusion surgery and was not capable of assaulting anyone.

Mr Dovener said the complainant was “quite volatile” and took the conversation as a threat but had told his step-daughter to ignore it.