In the days preceding the attack, defendants Tressider Duncan, 35, and Mark Ward, 46, had been exchanging unpleasant text messages with the complainant.
Kevin Jones, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court that the exact reason for the ‘falling out’ is not known, but is believed to have taken place after the complainant broke up with his former partner – who is friends with Duncan and Ward.
The complainant and his new girlfriend were returning to his home in Wadsley Bridge on the evening of September 22 last year, when they noticed a car pull up outside containing Duncan and Ward.
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“They stopped the car, got out and there then follows an attack upon the complainant, and subsequently his girlfriend [is attacked by Duncan] when she tries to step in and defend her partner,” said Mr Jones.
The first complainant was left with a bleed on the brain, a fractured finger and bruising to his head, face and body, while the second complainant suffered bruising and cuts to her mouth.
Ward, of Creswick Avenue, Ecclesfield, and Duncan, of Honeysuckle Road, Chesterfield were both charged with causing grievous bodily harm without intent, while Duncan also charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The defendants pleaded guilty to all charges at an earlier hearing.
Richard Adams, mitigating for Duncan, said this was her first conviction and that her behaviour on the evening in question was entirely ‘out of character’.
“She’s a nurse, someone who has put herself through 18 months of college, three years of university, and has raised three young children, and has potentially thrown it all away in one moment,” said Mr Adams.
He said Duncan had already lost her job as a result of the incident, and urged Judge Robert Moore to impose a suspended sentence for her children’s benefit.
Representing Ward, Ms Earnshaw said her client was ‘lightly convicted’ for unrelated matters, and was very involved in the care of Duncan’s children, who he is a stepfather to.
She added: “Since this incident, he has taken himself to alcoholics anonymous and with their assistance no longer drinks every day – which was the case before.”
Judge Moore rejected calls for suspended sentences, and jailed Duncan and Ward for 21 months each.
He told them: “You two are very lucky that the consequences of the male complainant’s bleed on the brain were not worse, you could easily have been starting life sentences for murder.”
“The fact of your incarceration will mean your three young children will suffer, and I bear that in mind,” he added.
As security guards attempted to escort the couple out of the courtroom to begin their sentence, Duncan appeared to lose her footing and could later be heard screaming ‘no’.