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Woman who attacked clergyman on Exeter Cathedral Green jailed for 18 weeks

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 25, 2013

Sharon Thornton admitted hitting the victim, who was not named at Exeter Magistrates' Court yesterday

A woman has been jailed for assaulting a clergyman.

Sharon Thornton admitted hitting the victim, who was not named at Exeter Magistrates' Court yesterday, following an argument over her swearing last August.

Thornton, 39, had been drinking with a friend on Cathedral Green in the city when the man approached and asked them to quieten down.

Thornton lashed out at her victim, then smashed his glasses and his mobile phone while he attempted to capture video evidence of the attack.

She pleaded guilty to assault by beating, a public order offence and criminal damage, and was jailed for 18 weeks.

Thornton, who appeared via video link from Eastwood Park prison in Gloucestershire, has been in custody on remand since October. She will remain in custody pending other outstanding legal matters, the court was told.

Prosecutor Mark Haddow said: "The incident occurred on one of the few warm days last summer, and there were a number of families there. She (Thornton) was under the influence of alcohol.

"The victim was a reverend and had been constantly interrupted from his work by swearing and shouting, so he went over to speak to them."

Mr Haddow said the man approached Thornton's friend, who was lying on the ground, when he was hit by the defendant.

He said. "She took him quite by surprise and hit him to the face. He (the victim) wanted to film the assault on his phone for evidential reasons. She lashed out at him."

Thornton broke the man's glasses and his phone, which smashed on the floor. The victim was also lightly injured in the attack.

The previous month, Thornton punched a woman in the face after she became concerned about the defendant's behaviour as she walked through the city.

Defending, Stephen Nunn said: "It's clear at the time, in addition to being in drink, she was mentally ill."

Thornton was handed concurrent sentences for the offences, which she admitted at an earlier hearing.

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