Alice Ruggles

A soldier accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend was not allowed to go on duty with the Royal Family after he suffered a black eye in a fight, a court has heard.

Lance Corporal Trimaan "Harry" Dhillon, 26, denies cutting the throat of Alice Ruggles (pictured above) from ear to ear, before leaving her to bleed to death on her bathroom floor in Gateshead last October.

Giving evidence at Newcastle Crown Court, the signaller with 2 SCOTS said the previous month he had been stationed in Ballater, Scotland, for the purposes of "the Royal Guard".

He told the jury he suffered a black eye during a night out when he stepped in to help a fellow soldier who got into a fight with seven men outside a takeaway, and was punched and kicked.

Jamie Hill QC, defending, said the royal party were deer stalking and shooting grouse.

Dhillon said:

"Because I had a black eye, I was given two options: either stay back in camp, or, when you go with the beating team, stay back and don't go in front of the royal guests because you are not in a presentable state."

Dhillon, based at a barracks in Edinburgh and who hoped to join the Special Forces, is accused of stalking his 24-year-old ex-girlfriend, then defying a police warning to visit her, breaking into her home and cutting her throat.

The jury has heard that the pair had an intense relationship which Miss Ruggles, originally from Leicestershire and working for Sky, ended after she discovered evidence of his infidelity.