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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Cumbrian woman cleared of bottle attack on friend

A young woman wept after a jury cleared her of biting a man and then hitting him over the head with a bottle.

Related: Woman gives evidence in bottle attack trial

Zara Peel, 22, had always denied attacking Lee Ellwood during a heated row over a mobile phone call.

At Carlisle Crown Court, the prosecution claimed she had smashed Mr Ellwood’s phone and then subjected him to violence while they were in a flat in Workington.

But after hearing evidence during the trial, the jury took less than an hour to declare her not guilty to the three charges she faced – wounding with intent, unlawful wounding and assault causing actual bodily harm.

Speaking after the case, Miss Peel, of Moorlands, Little Clifton, near Workington, said: “This has been going on for 12 months and it’s been hugely stressful for everybody in my life. But I want to thank my defence team: the barrister Elizabeth Muir was absolutely fantastic.”

Miss Peel’s partner Ritchie Edgar, 25, added: “The case has had a bad effect on Zara: she hasn’t been able to sleep. I’ve never seen her like this.”

The prosecution had claimed a row broke out after Mr Ellwood ignored a call to his mobile phone.

The two – who at the time were friends – were in a flat in Fisher Street with two other people and all had been drinking, the court heard.

The most dramatic claim was that she had smashed a vodka bottle over Mr Ellwood’s head during the row.

Asked about previous convictions which she has, Miss Peel told the court: “I got in with the wrong crowd but I’ve always pleaded guilty to the things I’ve done.”

Miss Peel said that all the allegations made against her had been made up.

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