Mum of three avoids prison

A MOTHER of three has narrowly avoided serving time behind bars after instigating a vicious attack in a busy public area, in which a woman's head was punched into a wall.

Warwick woman Justine Stacy Close, 31, was given a suspended jail sentence on Tuesday after pleading guilty in the Warwick Magistrates Court to assault occasioning bodily harm and public nuisance.

The court heard Close was pushing a trolley, which two children were in, through Rose City Shoppingworld on June 7 when she spotted the victim, with whom she had earlier had issues.

Close was heard to have crossed over to the victim, rammed her trolley into hers and then punched the woman in the side of the face, causing her head to hit the wall behind her. The two women became entangled in a fight which was heard to have lasted for around two minutes, during which the two children had run away in fear.

After the fight subsided Close reclaimed her trolley and was heard to yell out “I'm going to the f------ police” before exiting the centre.

The victim sought refuge at the centre management office, where she wad given first aid, and later sought medical attention for cuts to her cheek, bruises, swelling and tenderness in her temple and back.

The court heard when police spoke to Close after the attack she said the victim had called her a derogatory name and the victim and five others had attacked Close a few weeks earlier.

The police prosecutor presented to the court Close's criminal history, which runs over one and a half pages and includes offences such as assault and public nuisance.

He told the court the attack was unprovoked and asked for a jail sentence to be imposed on Close.

Defence counsel for Close said the victim in the case had been systematically making trouble for Close and her family and he admitted that Close did not have a lot of remorse for the assault.

Magistrate Thacker chastised Close and told her such incidents would not be tolerated in a busy place like the shopping centre.

Close was warned by the magistrate there was now only one penalty for such behaviour and said if she were to do it again she would certainly go to jail.

She was sentenced to three months jail, wholly suspended.

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