AN AMBLESIDE couple were assaulted by a hypnotherapist and her partner during a dispute over late-night noise in the street, a court heard.

Vicky Simmonite, 40, and her boyfriend Charlie Smith, 42, who caused a disturbance outside the White Lion pub in the town’s Cheapside, were sentenced for their violence when they appeared before a Carlisle Crown Court judge.

Simmonite, who recently qualified as a hypnotherapist, admitted an assault causing actual bodily harm on a woman while Smith admitted the same offence against that victim's husband.

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Prosecutor Brendan Burke said the violence erupted after the defendants – both of Waterhead Close, Ambleside - were outside the pub at 1am on August 15 last year when there was an altercation, which disturbed residents.

A woman came out on to the street in her dressing gown to remonstrate with Simmonite. At the same time, Smith walked on to the scene. The prosecutor said it was fair to say that the victim was “robust” in her protestations.

Simmonite initially walked away.

As the resident's husband arrived to support his wife, Smith told him that he should “learn to control his wife.” The court heard that Smith was “aggressive” from the outset and attacked the man, despite him posing no threat.

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During the fracas, Simmonite tugged the woman's coat, dragging her to the ground. Smith, meanwhile, punched the woman's husband three times while the two women grappled on the ground nearby, with Simmonite attempting to deliver blows.

The man Smith attacked suffered a nose fracture which needed surgery. His wife suffered bleeding in her eyes and bruising to her head and collar bone as well as tendon damage on her hand.

Mr Burke outlined Smith’s criminal record: it consists of 87 previous offences, ranging from dishonesty to pubic order offences, battery, robbery and criminal damage. Simmonite’s record comprises 48 offences, including a previous assault causing actual bodily harm, affray and repeated court order breaches.

David Traynor, for Smith, said the defendant and Simmonite had been drinking and somebody had invited them for further drinks. “That was why they were pulling doors at the pub,” said the barrister.

Discovering his partner and the woman in a dispute, he had “foolishly involved himself”, said Mr Traynor. He was not initially violent but indulged in “low-level” behaviour, blowing in Mrs Burton’s face.

The violence lasted for around ten seconds, said Mr Traynor.

“When he moved [to the Lake District], he put drugs behind him and to a large extent he has put drink behind him. On this night, he had been out for a meal and had six pints of lager. He thought he could handle that.

“This shows he can’t.”

Smith had now decided that the risks of drinking were not worth it and he was not now  drinking at all. In his Probation Service interview, he had described his behaviour that night as embarrassing and was remorseful.

Holly Nelson, for Simmonite, said she accepted she went too far that night. “You will have seen that initially, she tried to walk away from the argument,” said the barrister. Simmonite had also made repeated attempts to stand between her co-defendant and the man he argued with.

She too was remorseful.

Since moving to the area some years ago, Simmonite had worked hard, setting up her own cleaning business. “She also recently retrained as a hypno-therapist and is trying to gain work through that avenue,” said Miss Nelson.

The defendant's basis of plea, accepted by the prosecution, said that she had tried to walk away from the confrontation and took repeated steps to attempt to remove Smith from the area.

Simmonite pushed the other woman only after being pushed by her. She then used her coat to bring the woman to the ground after the other woman had thrown a punch which did not connect. 

Simmonite accepted that her actions after this were "excessive and unlawful."

Recorder Paul Hodgkinson told Smith: “You went over to become involved, and [the male victim] came out to protect his wife. You immediately launched an attack on him, unprovoked. But that man was no threat to you.”

The Recorder said Smith was drunk and aggressive.

But noting positive comments about the defendant in his pre-sentence report, and the changes he had made in his life, Recorder said he would suspend for 18 months the 30-week jail term he would impose.

Smith must complete 30 days of rehabilitation and do 200 hours of unpaid work. He will also have to serve a 9pm to 6am curfew for the next three months.

Recorder Hodgkinson said he recognised that Simmonite had made positive changes to her life and kept out of trouble. “What you should have done was walk away but you chose not to and that was a bad decision,” said the judge.

He gave her an 18-month community order, also with a three month 9pm to 6am curfew. She must complete 100 hours on unpaid work in the community.

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