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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Cumbrian woman denies smashing bottle over man’s head

A man was left “dripping with blood” after a drunken woman smashed a vodka bottle over his head in a west Cumbrian flat, a court heard.

Lee Christopher Ellwood, 26, suffered “extensive and quite unpleasant” injuries to his face and body when 22-year-old Zara Louise Peel attacked him for no reason just before Christmas, it was alleged.

Peel, of Moorlands, Little Clifton, near Workington, has pleaded not guilty to unlawfully and maliciously wounding him with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

She has also denied causing him actual bodily harm by biting him, and criminally damaging his mobile phone by stamping on it.

Prosecutor Dick Binstead told a jury of six men and six women at Carlisle Crown Court that Mr Ellwood and Peel – who were then friends – had gone to the flat in Fisher Street, Workington, with Keith Stevenson and Corinne Harrison after meeting at a snooker hall.

Mr Binstead said all four had been drinking heavily, but Mr Ellwood was “not badly affected”.

The cause of the trouble, the court heard, appeared to have been a call on his mobile, which Mr Ellwood ignored, thinking it was his father who was going to give him a lift home.

For some reason, Mr Binstead said, Peel was annoyed by Mr Ellwood’s failure to answer the call and aggressively knocked the mobile out of his hand and smashed it by stamping on it.

“She then started to grab hold of his clothes, ripping his shirt, and grabbed at his face and bit him on the left forearm,” he said.

“She tried to hit him with a bottle of vodka but he managed to wrest it away from her and push her onto the settee.”

Mr Ellwood then decided to leave, the court heard, but after going downstairs found he was unable to get out of the locked main door.

So he went back upstairs for a key and once nearly into the flat “felt a massive blow to his head and heard the sound of smashing glass”, Mr Binstead said.

Ms Harrison helped him – bleeding profusely – away from the flat and took him to her grandmother’s house from where the police were called. Mr Binstead told the jury Mr Ellwood had not seen who or what had hit him.

“He did not see the blow coming and nor did he see it land,” he said.

“But immediately before the blow he saw Zara Peel standing close by, holding the bottle of vodka, and immediately afterwards she was still standing there – with the broken bottle.”

He said there were no eye witnesses because Ms Harrison had no recollection of anything that happened that afternoon, possibly because of a memory loss typical of type one diabetes.

And, when interviewed by the police, Peel said she had been so drunk she could not remember anything between getting to the flat and the police arriving.

Mr Binstead said Peel might try to claim that it was Ms Harrison who had struck the blow, not her, since her clothes were stained with Mr Ellwood’s blood.

“But it is hardly surprising that Ms Harrison was saturated with blood and broken glass – she had been in very closer contact with Mr Ellwood as she helped him out of the flat,” he said.

The trial continues.


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