A FORMER Saints star from Awbridge proclaimed “justice has prevailed” after he was cleared of assault and threatening to burn down a house.

Tough-tackling defender Mark Dennis, who played at the Dell in the mid-1980s, also took a swipe at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) as he left Southampton Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Mr Dennis, who was also celebrating his 57th birthday, said the case should “never” have been brought before the courts.

“I love it when justice prevails,” he said. “This should never have come to court.”

Mr Dennis, who was nicknamed “Psycho” for his on-field antics, added: “I feel sorry for taxpayers. I blame the CPS.”

His comments came after district judge Peter Greenfield cleared him of common assault.

Mr Dennis was alleged to have chased after a woman, clenching his fists – causing her to fear a physical attack.

He was also cleared of threatening to burn down a house in a heated argument.

Yesterday, the former Saints star, of Church Lane, Awbridge, took to the stand.

He was quizzed by prosecutor Sarah Lodge about both incidents, the first of which took place in November last year.

Mr Dennis admitted he was “frustrated”, but denied clenching his firsts and said he had “absolutely not” acted in an aggressive manner.

In the second incident, in December, he admitted being “merry” from drinking while watching a Saints match at Chandler’s Ford Social Club.

Mr Dennis said he swore after becoming embroiled in an argument with a woman, but denied threatening to burn down a house.

He told the court he walked away from the situation because “women are like a dog with a bone, they just keep on and on”.

Finding him not guilty for assault, Judge Greenfield said he was “just not sure” what had happened in the incident in November.

He also cleared him of making a threat to burn down a house as “nobody else had heard it”.

The CPS had not responded to a request for comment by the time the Echo went to press last night.

Mark Dennis Factfile

Saints star Dennis joined Saints in 1983 after coming through the youth academy at Chelsea and, later, Birmingham City – also making three appearances for England U21s.

The left-back played 95 games in four seasons for Saints, scoring two goals.

Dennis played an important role in the 1983-84 season, alongside the likes of England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and under the stewardship of Saints’ 1976 FA Cup winning

manager, Lawrie McMenemy.

The team finished runners-up in the First Division that season – the club’s highest ever top-flight finish – three points behind Liverpool.

Dennis went on to play for Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers.

He was also assistant manager at Eastleigh in the mid-2000s and acted as director of football at Winchester City.