Biting woman escapes jail

A YOUNG woman who bit a series of revellers in a number of frightening attacks has escaped a jail sentence.Catherine O'Leary, 21, of Soames Close, Stowmarket, admitted two charges of assault causing actual bodily harm and asked for four similar offences to be considered at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday .

A YOUNG woman who bit a series of revellers in a number of frightening attacks has escaped a jail sentence.

Catherine O'Leary, 21, of Soames Close, Stowmarket, admitted two charges of assault causing actual bodily harm and asked for four similar offences to be considered at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday .

Richard Potts, prosecuting, told how her first victim, Tracey Smith, was attacked while she was in a food shop in Stowmarket on September 27 last year.

She had been out for the evening and was in the Chicken Express with a friend, at which point O'Leary was outside the shop with a dog on a lead.


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O'Leary was behaving aggressively towards someone in the shop and Miss Smith made a comment to her friend, asking whether she was talking to them.

The court heard how the defendant came into the shop and stood just inches from Miss Smith, who pushed her away. Then O'Leary bit Miss Smith's finger, injuring her.

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While O'Leary was on bail for this offence, she attended a New Year's Eve celebration at Capel St Mary village hall. It was a village party for all ages, said Mr Potts.

O'Leary had consumed alcohol, and her first victim that evening was a person called Andrew Ruse.

She became very aggressive and threatening towards Mr Ruse and lunged at him, biting him on the right cheek, continuing to bite progressively harder, causing considerable pain. When she released her bite, his cheek was bleeding.

Her next victim was Charlotte Fillis, and O'Leary began rubbing her breast against her. When asked to stop, O'Leary bit her on the right cheek and grabbed her in the chest area. The victim suffered nightmares over the incident, the court heard.

There was a point at which she had been swinging on equipment on the stage. During an attempt to physically remove her from the stage, DJ Steven Algar was bitten on the hand. She also lunged at a man called Mark Ward and bit his arm.

Mr Potts said that when Miss O'Leary was interviewed by police, she could remember nothing of the incidents and expressed disbelief that she would have found herself in that situation.

Defence barrister Matthew McNiff drew attention to her personal circumstances which were dealt with in confidential probation and psychiatric reports. He said: "She is both frightened and appalled by what occurred."

After hearing about her personal circumstances, Judge Nicholas Beddard imposed a three-year community rehabilitation order.

But he pointed out that for offences of this sort, people were normally sent to prison.

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