A night out in ‘Alice In Wonderland’ fancy dress ended with an Ilkeston woman ‘glassing’ a teenager on the dance floor of a nightclub.
Amid birthday celebrations that turned sour, Alexandra Brown, 22, committed an offence while drunk that was “wholly out of character”, Nottingham Crown Court heard.
Brown, of St James Avenue, was arrested after she was recognised through photos on Facebook and after CCTV images from the club had been released in a media appeal for witnesses and information.
Initially, the court heard, Brown sent light-hearted text messages to a friend about the attack, saying: “I bet it’ll be in the paper” and “He must have a scar on his face”.
But once she had sobered up, she felt so ashamed that she resigned from her job and sent a humbling letter of apology to the victim, 18-year-old Shane Fisher.
Brown pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful wounding. Judge Michael Stokes handed her a prison sentence of 12 months, suspended for one year, and ordered her to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work in the community. She was also placed under a curfew, banning her from going out between 9 pm and 6 am for 90 days, and told to pay compensation of £750 to Mr Fisher, plus court costs of £250.
David Allen, prosecuting, told how the rumpus broke out at Foxy’s on Upper Parliament Street in Nottingham city centre in the early hours of Sunday, August 9 last year.
Brown’s party, some of whom were in ‘Alice In Wonderland’ fancy-dress costumes, had been to a greyhound race meeting at Colwick Park, while Mr Fisher was out with his girlfriend and family members.
“There was some sort of argument and confrontation on the dance floor,” said Mr Allen as CCTV footage was shown to the court. “At one stage, a glass bottle flew overhead.
“Brown, obviously drunk and staggering, was dancing with a small glass in her hand. She was watching a conversation until something caught her eye and she went over to Mr Fisher and said: Do you know who I am?
“After she had backed him into a wall, he pushed her in the shoulder. She reacted by thrusting the glass into his face and left the dance floor.”
Mr Fisher and his party left the club and hailed a taxi to take him to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, where he needed treatment for lacerations to his nose and eyelid and across his eyeball. “He still has large scars and had trouble sleeping for two weeks after the attack,” said Mr Allen.
The court heard that, immediately after the incident, Brown went so speak to the club’s owner, who spotted blood in her hair and on her right hand. “She told him that she was out with her partner as a couple, and that three guys had attacked them,” said Mr Allen. “The club owner even washed her hand for her and gave her some tissues, and she asked if she could go back into the club for a few more drinks.”
When the public appeal for witnesses was issued, two key responses came from Kelly Jones, the partner of Mr Fisher’s father, and another member of the public, the court heard. Kelly had seen Facebook messages attributed to Brown at the time, saying “Getting smashed tonight”, while the other witness recognised Brown’s partner. Mr Fisher’s father, Lee, later identified Brown from video evidence.
Brown eventually handed herself in at Ilkeston police station, and her mobile phone was seized. Text messages about the attack that she had later tried to delete were recovered. Although she made no comment in her first interview with officers, she later claimed “a group of males had been shouting abuse at her” at the club.
ALEXANDRA Brown was so ashamed of of her behaviour in Foxy’s nightclub that she later sent a letter of apology to the man she ‘glassed’, Shane Fisher.
The letter, which was said to “come from the heart”, was read out at Nottingham Crown Court by Judge Michael Stokes, who said it “demonstrated genuine remorse”.
It read: “I am writing to tell you how sorry I am. I never intended to cause injury or distress.
“I will never forgive myself. It is out of character for me, and I hate to see any sort of violence. I am extremely ashamed of myself.”
Brown’s solicitor, Digby Johnson, mitigating, accepted that it was “hard to attribute logic to her actions”, but insisted she had now learned lessons.
“The bar was loud, and a lot of drink had been consumed,” said Mr Johnson. “There was a smoke machine on the dance floor, a lot of people were shouting things and it was lively.
“She went over to Mr Fisher because things were being shouted. She denies saying do you know who I am. She actually said: You don’t even know who I am.
“He shoved his hand in her face. Putting the glass in his face was an instinctive reaction.”
The court was told that, in the aftermath of the attack, Brown resigned from her respectable job that she had held down for six years. But she had since been reinstated because the company supported and trusted her and “knew the kind of person she is”.
Several references of support were also presented to the court, including one from Brown’s mother that was described by the judge as “moving and impressive”.
Judge Stokes told Brown: “It is obvious you had had quite a lot to drink, and you were behaving in a fairly uninhibited fashion, dancing with a glass in your hand.
“I am sure you didn’t intend to injure, but you caused very serious injuries. This sort of behaviour is not acceptable, and there is a particular problem in bars and nightclubs in cities.
“However, the references show that your behaviour was wholly out of character, and so sending you directly to prison is unnecessary.”