A single mother in England has been spared time in prison after being convicted of beating a man because the judge feared it would “cause distress and upset to her children.”
Claire Steeden and her friends attacked Anthony Murray, who was trying to help another man the two women were beating up after being kicked out of Kaos nightclub in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, reports the Mirror.
Steeden, 32, and her friend, Mary Wharton, chased Murray before ultimately pushing him to the ground. He was kicked, punched and left in a pool of blood. Steeden and her friends stole Murray’s $600 iPhone, a Nokia cellphone and more than $200 in cash.
Murray is reportedly so traumatized by the incident he is afraid to leave his home, go to bars and be outside at night, reports the Mirror.
Steeden had previously convicted for stealing $9,000 from her ex-fiance while he was in prison in 2012, reports The Blackpool Gazette. She admitted to charges of theft and assault. After the judge heard she had “responsibility” for two children, she was given 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, and 160 hours of unpaid work. The suspended sentence means she will not have to serve time unless she violates the terms of her suspended sentence within the next two years.
Wharton also admitted to the theft and assault charges. She received a prison sentence of 15 months, suspended for two years, and a four-month curfew between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Judge Simon Newell, said both women had been drinking excessively, which aggravated the situation.
“My gut reaction is that a custodial sentence should follow," Said Newell, "There is, however, one matter and one matter alone which leads me to the conclusion that I can suspend the sentence in this case — Miss Steeden has the responsibility of two small children. It seems to me the distress, upset, disturbance and lack of stability for these children is such a specific matter that appertains to one of you, that I can suspend the sentence and I have to treat you both the same. The other gets the benefit of that matter."
Steeden’s legal counsel added that she was having a hard time dealing with the dissolution of her marriage.
"The defendant feels disgusted with herself for what she has done,” Huw Edwards reported. “As a result of these [offenses], she has taken positive steps to reduce her drinking."