Northern Ireland news

Woman who pleaded guilty to 'disgraceful' assault avoids jail

Laganside courthouse in Belfast

A mother-of-three has avoided jail for what a judge described as a "disgraceful'' assault on a woman in Belfast.

Sarah Nikita Fryers (25), of Springfield Road in west Belfast, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Prosecution lawyer Philip Henry said a man and woman were walking home in Belfast on February 9, 2016 when they were attacked by two assailants.

Belfast Crown Court heard that during the attack the man was assaulted and robbed by Fryers's male accomplice.

The court was told that during the course of that attack, the female vicim saw a woman approaching her from an alleyway.

"At first she thought that this woman ... was coming to help her,'' said Mr Henry.

"In fact, she approached the injured party and assaulted her. She was punched and kicked and fell to the ground."

Judge Geoffrey Miller QC heard the woman sustained an injury to the top of her head below her hairline and "bad bruising'' to the left side of her leg. Neither injured party were willing to supply victim impact statements, add Mr Henry.

Defence barrister Declan Quinn said Fryers accepted that the attack could have had "a major impact'' on the victim, adding that the defendant wished to apologise to both victims.

Mr Quinn said that Fryers had no previous criminal record and was "extremely concerned'' about her future .

Judge Miller described the assault as a "disgraceful incident'' and said the custody threshold had been passed.

The judge told Fryers that had she been convicted after trial, she would have been jailed for 10 months.

Judge Miller said he would give her a 20 per cent discount for her guilty plea and sentenced her to eight months in prison, adding that he would suspended that for a period of 18 months.

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