Mother assaulted officer
Wednesday, December 02, 2009, 06:00
A mother has been convicted after "deliberately wielding a handbag" and striking a police officer.
Diminutive Lorna Vinten, 44, charged in to help her son who was being restrained by four police officers, swinging her small blue handbag containing her keys, cigarettes and mobile phone.
But despite Redhill Magistrates' Court hearing the handbag had struck with the force of a pillow, Mrs Vinten was convicted of two counts of assault, and resisting a constable in the execution of his duty.
Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Vinten said: "I'm just glad it's all over. It's been a very stressful time for me. I'm just worried about losing my job now."
The incident occurred at the Royal British Legion in Town End, Caterham, on the evening of May 24, after the High Street Party enjoyed by thousands of visitors.
Police entered the Legion building asking revellers to drink up, and ended up restraining 17-year-old Ricky Vinten near the exit.
Defence counsel Natasha Draycott told the court how Mrs Vinten had rushed to aid her son, but was grabbed by the throat, and thrown onto a table by "enthusiastic" officers.
Ms Draycott said: "Officers were using completely unreasonable force, she was kicking out in sheer panic."
Mrs Vinten had claimed her handbag had fallen down her arm and had been flying around, but she had not intended to hit anyone.
But presiding over the hearing, District Judge Caroline Jackson said: "Looking at the CCTV it's clear excessive force was not used (by the police).
"I find there are deliberate acts of wielding the handbag."
Fining her a total of £1,040, and giving her a two-year conditional discharge, Judge Jackson said she had taken into account the fact that Mrs Vinten's husband had passed away last year, that she suffered panic attacks and was on anti-depressants.
Mrs Vinten's son Ricky was also convicted of assault, resisting an officer in the execution of his duty and using threatening, insulting or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour with intent to cause alarm or distress. His sentencing was adjourned.