RIPPING the hair extensions off a stranger’s head in a hotel bar has led to a community service order being imposed on a Warrenpint woman.
Sarah Caulfield, 30, of Milltown Close, was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault.
The court heard that on 11 July last year, police received a report of an assault at the Whistledown Hotel in Warrenpoint at 1.30am.
Officers spoke with the injured party who said she had been assaulted by an unknown female in the lobby as she was walking from her brother's reception to the residents' bar area.
Caulfield was trying to move large chairs out of the way when she bumped into the injured party and Caulfield's phone was knocked out of her hand. No damage was done to the phone.
The injured party walked to the bar and Caulfield swung at the victim and grabbed her hair, ripping out the victim's hair extensions and pulling her.
Another member of the party intervened and Caulfield elbowed him in the face while he attempted to restrain her.
When police arrived they observed a bald patch on the head of the female victim, while the male victim had not sustained any injuries.
Police viewed CCTV and their account correlated with what they saw on the footage.
Caulfield was identified and gave a 'no comment' interview to police.
Defence counsel stated Caulfield had "no previous convictions of any description" and had two young children "with a third on the way".
"This incident seems to be a one off in circumstances she found herself in.
"She was going to a birthday party and a few days before that her father took a stroke and she was prevailed upon to go to this. She wasn't particularly happy to do so. She was in a bad form, she hadn't been sleeping or eating.
"What happened here was alcohol and these particular circumstances caused her to drink far too much.
"She remembers nothing of the evening. This was totally out of character."
"This is not much comfort to the girl at her brother's wedding," commented District Judge Keown.
Responding, Caulfield's defence said: "It's a stain on her character which otherwise was perfect and there is no reason to believe she will ever do anything of a similar nature in future."
Speaking ahead of sentencing, the judge said: "We are talking a serious matter.
"I accept that it is out of character and I am hopeful it won't happen again. The injuries sustained are nasty."
Judge Keown ordered Caulfield to carry out 80 hours of community service and ordered her to pay £200 compensation to the female victim.