By Court Reporter Monday 17 September 2012 Updated: 17/09 10:58
A MOTHER who smashed a glass into the face of a neighbour who had befriended her has narrowly escaped being jailed.
Anna Hales had pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to maliciously wounding neighbour Michael Strydom – the father of young motocross ace Damon Strydom.
But within an hour, Hales, who had admitted a charge of causing damage, changed her plea to guilty and was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years.
The 28-year-old, of Longstock Road, was also made subject to supervision for 18 months and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.
Prosecutor Andrew Wilkins said Mr Strydom was a near neighbour of Hales, having recently moved to Longstock Road with his son, aged 18, and 14-year-old daughter.
They had met and had conversations, and on December 31 he invited Hales - who had been having problems with her ex-partner - round to his home.
They had a pleasant evening, during which Hales told him about the difficulties she was having, until a disagreement started over buying cigarettes.
Things settled down and Damon, a professional motocross rider, went to bed.
Mr Strydom became concerned when Hales went up to his son’s bedroom, so he followed and asked her to come back down.
Hales did so, but shortly afterwards she went back up again to the bedroom where Damon was in his boxer shorts.
When Mr Strydom went up again and asked her to leave, things took a turn for the worse and insults were exchanged.
Mr Wilkins told the court: "Miss Hales struck Mr Strydom. Unfortunately, she was holding a glass in her hand which caused the type of significant injuries we are all too familiar with in these courts."
Hales, who was drunk, had to be forcibly removed from the house and kicked out at the door, causing £773 of damage. She was restrained by neighbours including an off-duty policeman.
Mr Strydom needed hospital treatment for the deep wound he had suffered to his face, including internal as well as external stitches.
And a plastic surgeon has said he is likely to have a permanent scar, damage to his facial muscles and numbness in his upper lip as a result.
Nick Devine, defending, said: "The background history in the lead-up to this is an unhappy one. She suffered in a very abusive relationship with her ex-partner and had been to hospital that day as a result. There is now a restraining order.
"She has two young children, one of whom has his own difficulties."
Recorder Andrew Easteal said: "You have two young children aged six and three, and your son has autism. You have a huge responsibility to them, and you failed them.
"I hope you understand how close you have come to going to prison today. But were I to send you to custody, it would be a brutal punishment to your two children."
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