St Albans defendant avoids jail term after drink-fuelled attack on woman in her 80s with claw hammer

Court report

Court report - Credit: Archant

A woman in her eighties was attacked with a claw hammer in her own home, St Albans Crown Court heard this week.

The pensioner was attacked by Isotta Guttadauro, 49, of Swallow Lane, St Albans, over the victim’s refusal to allow her to use an upstairs toilet.

But the elderly woman, assisted by a friend who was in the house in Drakes Drive, St Albans, managed to grab the hammer and escaped with a bruised thumb and finger.

Guttadauro pleaded guilty to assaulting the elderly woman, occasioning her actual bodily harm, and was given a suspended prison sentence on Monday.

On August 24 last year, Guttadauro visited the elderly woman in Drakes Drive and on arrival found that she already had a visitor.

Guttadauro asked if she could go upstairs to use the toilet and was told that she couldn’t but if she wanted to, she could use a downstairs commode.

Judge Jonathan Carroll, hearing the case, was told that the victim’s reluctance to let her go upstairs could have stemmed from previous visits when she thought Guttadauro had harassed her to lend her money

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At the time Guttadauro was under considerable stress following the break-up of her marriage and the debts she had run up by having to give up her job.

To make matters worse she had consumed alcohol on top of the medication she had been prescribed for depression.

Unhappy about being refused use of the upstairs toilet, Guttadauro left the house, returning a few minutes later clutching a claw hammer and shouting, “Where is she, where is she?”

After forcing her way into the house she confronted the victm saying “You treat me like a dog” and raised the claw hammer.

After the victim and her friend had grabbed the hammer, Guttadauro left and the police were called. When they went to her house, she was threatening to jump from an upstairs window.

An officer pulled her back from the window and she claimed that when she went back to the woman’s house for a second time she didn’t realise she was carrying the claw hammer.

Judge Carroll was told that by last summer the defendant had reached rock bottom following the break-up of her marriage in 2014 and the debts she had then subsequently run up.

It was against that background, the court was told, that she had started drinking.

She had felt angry and hurt when refused access to the toilet and wanted to confront the woman about it.

In court on Monday, it was said that Guttadauro was no longer taking medication or drinking because of the help and support she was getting from her church.

Sentencing Guttadauro to a 13 and half month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and 80 hours of unpaid work. Judge Carroll said he did not accept the defendant’s claims that when she went to the victim’s home on the second occasion she had forgotten she had the claw hammer in her hand.

He said: “You wanted her to be intimidated. You attacked her because you were upset.”

But he accepted that she had behaved out of character that day.

Guttadauro was also made the subject of a five year restraining order not to contact the elderly woman.