Pregnant teenager spared jail after blade attack

PUBLISHED: 14:28 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 12:45 06 May 2010

A TEENAGER sliced open another woman s nose with a Stanley knife blade as they fought in a St Albans flat. Leah Gonzales, aged 18, picked up the blade during the fight with Catherine Dunn, who had shut her in a kitchen. The victim needed plastic surgery t

A TEENAGER sliced open another woman's nose with a Stanley knife blade as they fought in a St Albans flat.

Leah Gonzales, aged 18, picked up the blade during the fight with Catherine Dunn, who had shut her in a kitchen.

The victim needed plastic surgery to a badly-sliced nose and also had a cut to her mouth and another to the side of her face, St Albans Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

Prosecutor David Chrimes said there had been a history of bad feeling between the two women. Two days before the assault, police were called when Ms Dunn, aged 27, and Gonzales had rowed in Cell Barnes Lane.

Then on September 12 last year, Gonzales was in a flat in Aldwick Court when Ms Dunn appeared. To avoid her, Gonzales went into the kitchen.

But, said Mr Chrimes, the victim took a phone call from Gonzales' mother and told her to answer it. Gonzales ended up trapped in the kitchen with Miss Dunn and a fight broke out.

Both women were pulling each other's hair and Gonzales shouted: "Let me out. Please let me out."

She picked up the Stanley knife blade that had been left in the kitchen and lashed out, causing the three injuries to Ms Dunn's face.

"Sadly, it appear the injuries will cause permanent scarring to the face," said Mr Chrimes.

Ms Dunn was taken to Hemel Hempstead Hospital and then to the plastic surgery unit at Northwick Park Hospital.

Gonzales had run to her mother's house, where she was arrested. She told the police: "She started it."

Custody

Gonzales, of no fixed address, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to wounding Ms Dunn.

Defence barrister Claire Robinson said that Gonzales, who is due to give birth next week, had already spent 117 days in custody, the equivalent of an eight-month jail sentence. She said she needed help with anger management. She handed the judge a letter Gonzales had written to him as well as three certificates she had obtained while in custody.

Judge John Plumstead passed a nine-month jail sentence suspended for two years, saying he would have sentenced her to 18 months had she not already spent time behind bars. She was also placed on supervision for two years and ordered to complete 50 days of courses arranged by the probation service.

The judge told her: "I am going to give you a chance to sort yourself out. You are going to have to control yourself. If you are in breach of these conditions you will go to prison.

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