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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Cumbrian assault trial woman 'thought she was hitting a zombie'

A woman who punched her elderly aunt claimed she thought she was hitting a “zombie-type of thing”, a court heard.

Joanne Waite photo
Joanne Waite

Joanne Waite, 44, struck Eleanor Huddart, 69, after a family barbecue.

But Carlisle Crown Court heard she told police that she “didn't know it was a person”.

Tim Evans, prosecuting, told a jury: “You know when you watch a horror film that Shaun of the Dead is not a fly-on-the-wall documentary.”

Mrs Huddart was also attacked by her husband that night and was left with injuries including a fractured eye socket. Waite, of Wastwater Avenue, Workington, denies assault causing actual bodily harm.

The court heard she says she was acting in self defence.

Tim Evans, prosecuting, told the jury the barbecue was at the home of Mrs Huddart and her husband, Henry, in July last year.

People were drinking at the gathering and at the end of night the only people left were Waite and the couple.

There was an argument between the couple, the court heard, and it led to Mr Huddart attacking his wife.

The next thing Mrs Huddart could recall was waking up the next day, said Mr Evans.

She had a fractured eye socket and was “black and blue”.

Waite was interviewed by police and Mr Evans said she “concealed the fact she had struck her elderly aunty in the face three times”.

Mrs Huddart spoke to police at a later date and said things had come back to her “in flashbacks”, saying Waite had attacked her as well.

Waite was interviewed again by police.

Mr Evans read from her statement. She said she saw someone in a room at the house, telling officers the person was “like a zombie”.

She told police: “It was walking slowly. It looked like a 1970s zombie type of thing.

“Is this real? Is this real? Am I really seeing someone with blood all over her face? “It was walking towards me.”

Mr Evans said she claimed she “didn't know it was a person”, adding she remembered punching "to get her off us".

The court was told she said she phoned her mother and said: “Ring the police mam, it's like a zombie mam.”

Mr Evans said: “She knew that when she was punching, the person she was punching was not some zombie, it was her auntie.

“Did she get onto the police immediately? Did she wait there to await the arrival of the police to see what horror show was going on inside?

“Did she call Ghostbusters if it was a horrific apparition she was dealing with? No, she went home.”

The trial continues.

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