Woman denies restaurant attack
A WOMAN has denied attacking a financial manager in a seaside restaurant and has told a court she feared she was about to be beaten up by the woman.Nichola Owen, 41, told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday she had been terrified and panic-stricken when Sarah Fountain began screaming obscenities at her at the Alex Restaurant in Felixstowe in September last year.
A WOMAN has denied attacking a financial manager in a seaside restaurant and has told a court she feared she was about to be beaten up.
Nichola Owen, 41, told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court she had been terrified and panic-stricken when Sarah Fountain began screaming obscenities at her at the Alex Restaurant in Felixstowe in September last year.
She denied deliberately causing injuries to Miss Fountain and said she was merely trying to remove her because she was being attacked.
Owen, of Manor Grove, Felixstowe, along with her sister, Anita Bolton, 39, of Manor Road, Felixstowe, both deny assaulting Miss Fountain causing her actual bodily harm.
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The court has previously heard that before going to the Alex, Miss Fountain, a finance manager, and her fiancé, shipping director Andy Peck, had attended a lunchtime meeting of the Felixstowe Freight Club at a local hotel.
Many of those at the meeting had then moved on to the Alex later that evening.
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The prosecution alleges that while at the Alex, Owen approached Mr Peck and put her arms around him and showed him “signs of affection”.
An exchange of words is then alleged to have occurred before Owen allegedly grabbed Miss Fountain's hair and pulled her to the ground before scratching at her eyes and face.
Her sister is accused of joining in by hitting Miss Fountain on the back of the head and digging her nails into her right breast.
Giving evidence yesterday, Owen denied having any sexual interest in Mr Peck or trying to antagonise his fiancée.
She told the jury Miss Fountain had stared at her with hostility when she had taken a seat at their table that evening.
Owen said she decided to leave the table to avoid confrontation and only returned later to collect her handbag.
She told the jury the table had been “tightly-packed” and accepted she may have touched Mr Peck on the shoulders as she squeezed past to pick up her bag.
But she claimed Miss Fountain had begun screaming at her, accusing her of having her hands over every man in the restaurant.
“It was hideously hostile. I was shocked. I looked round in horror,” Owen told the court.
“My sister and I became seriously alarmed. We just grabbed each other's hands to sit down as quickly as we could.
“Andy Peck came round the table in such a manner that we believed we were about to be murdered. As I looked up Sarah Fountain was coming round the table. With that I stood up in panic.
“I knew we were going to be beaten up by both of them. It was not a thought. It was a fact. It was obvious we were going to be attacked.”
Owen told the court Miss Fountain had appeared suddenly in her face and the next thing she knew they were on the floor.
The court has heard that Miss Fountain was left with three bald patches on her scalp and had a scar on her breast.
The trial continues.