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Monday, 14 July 2014

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Cumbrian man attacked by ex-girlfriend after being lured to quiet spot

A teenage care worker has been locked up for deliberately luring her ex-boyfriend to a lonely spot near her home so he could be beaten up by a gang of her friends.

Louise Fletcher, 18, did not show any emotion as the 18-month sentence was passed on her at Carlisle Crown Court for what a judge described as “a disgraceful premeditated offence.”

Nor did her new boyfriend – 21-year-old Karl James Kirkbride – as he was handed a 21-month sentence for his part in what happened.

The court heard that Fletcher had been in a relationship with Jonathan Bridgewood for 10 months before splitting up from him in November last year.

At a party with Kirkbride and several other friends on New Year’s Day – and after drinking what the prosecution described as “an industrial amount of alcohol” – she hatched a plan to entice Mr Bridgewood to a quiet place in a car park near Maryport’s Victoria Cottage Hospital.

She phoned him to invite him to meet her there, but when he arrived he was met only by Kirkbride, who told him two other men were coming to “kidnap” him in a car. Kirkbride then punched Mr Bridgewood in the face and kicked him, before Fletcher appeared with some other men who have never been identified, the court heard.

In a scuffle, one man held Mr Bridgewood while Kirkbride bit his ear, inflicting “excruciating pain”.

Mr Bridgewood got up the floor only to be attacked by his ex girlfriend, who swung punches at him and grabbed him round the neck so she could scratch him with her fingernails.

He managed to run away but in his haste he fell over, so one of the men was able to kick him on the ground again.

Mr Bridgewood suffered a cut ear, bruises, scratches and a swollen head.

Soon afterwards Fletcher sent him a “gloating” text message on his mobile.

Fletcher, of Buttermere Road, Maryport, had pleaded not guilty to causing him actual bodily harm, but a jury took just 10 minutes to find her guilty – one of the fastest verdicts ever delivered at the crown court.

Her barrister Greg Hoare told the court: “It was a very ill-advised piece of behaviour but it has taught her a very valuable lesson. It is very unlikely that the courts will ever see her again.”

Kirkbride, of Princess Drive, Maryport, had pleaded guilty to the same charge at an earlier hearing. He was jailed for 21 months.

Judge Paul Batty QC told them: “This was a disgraceful offence. There was nothing whatsoever to justify, explain or mitigate that which occurred. It was serious, significant and premeditated violence.”

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