Time out for council head after assault caution

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A council chief who was arrested and cautioned for assaulting his stepdaughter announced today that he was taking time out to "resolve family issues".

Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council, spent up to 20 hours in custody after he was arrested at his home.

Police were called on Monday night to the house in Crumpsall, Manchester, which the Labour councillor shares with his second wife, Joanne, and her two children.

Sir Richard, 58, was taken to Pendleton police station in Salford for questioning and later received a caution over the incident in which his 16-year-old stepdaughter suffered a minor ear injury.

Both the Manchester Labour group, which runs the council, and the council itself said the incident was a "private matter".

Later, the council's chief executive, Sir Howard Bernstein, said in a statement: "Sir Richard Leese has written to Manchester City asking for a period of time out from his duties as leader of the council to resolve family issues.

"We respect this decision. During this period, his duties will be carried out by the deputy leaders of the council."

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: "At 11pm on Monday April 12, police were called to a house on Westbury Road, Crumpsall, following allegations a 16-year-old girl had been assaulted.

"Police attended and spoke to the girl, who had sustained a very minor injury.

"A 58-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of common assault and was cautioned in relation to the matter."