Mum avoids jail after ice rink brawl
8:00am Tuesday 27th March 2012 in News
A mother who led an angry mob in a vicious attack on a ice rink boss in front of up to 15 children at her son’s seventh birthday party has been spared jail.
Cleopatra Marcus, 26, from South Norwood, was handed a nine-month suspended sentence for causing actual bodily harm to deputy manager Vanessa Murray.
She was also given a supervision order for the attack, at the now closed Streatham Ice Arena, on April 16 last year.
During the trial, at Inner London Crown Court, the jury heard how Marcus and up to 15 other adults knocked Miss Murray to the ground and repeatedly kicked her, leaving her with a fractured hand.
The row erupted after Marcus became agitated because she believed her group had been left waiting too long to set up their party room.
John Fairhead, prosecuting, said the children had some private tuition on the ice, but when retail worker Marcus went to find out about the room, she became frustrated with the party co-ordinator.
He said Miss Murray intervened and when Marcus rudely confronted her, she was given the choice to stay or have a refund.
He said: “Eventually she said, ‘You no longer have the choice, it is cancelled’.”
As the children were gathered, tempers flared and someone shouted, “Give her a slap. Thump her in the mouth”, the court heard.
Mr Fairhead said: “And you [Marcus] went for her. And the whole mob went for her. You and others kicked her. People were punching her on the ground.
“That’s when she ran to the safety of the office.”
Marcus claimed the ice rink worker was smashing a phone against the perspex screen inside her office and screaming before police arrived.
Miss Murray suffered a fractured bone in her hand and bruising to her body.
Marcus insisted she did not assault her, but someone else may have. She claimed she told the party co-ordinator to hurry up and Ms Murray overreacted so badly her own security staff had to hold her back.
Giving evidence to the court, Marcus said: “Ms Murray said, ‘Listen you will not speak to my staff like that or I’ll lock off your party’. She was pointing right in my face and shouting – I was really shocked.
“She jumped the stairs and went down towards my party. I think a few of my friends came over to me. I wanted to try and salvage the day and go somewhere else.
“I did not want the kids to think it had gone wrong.
“She was waving her hands around and a crowd was forming.”
Marcus, of Belgrave Road, denied inflicting grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
She was cleared of unlawful wounding, but convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm by a majority verdict following the trial.
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