Hospitalised pensioner pleads for attacker to be spared jail

October 4, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A pensioner who was headbutted and punched by a mum-of-two after she disciplined her child has pleaded with a judge to spare her attacker from jail.

Saintly Mary Holland, 86, was hospitalised with a broken wrist and cuts to her face after Danielle Wilks, 34, attacked her in a supermarket.

Despite the traumatic assault, courageous Mary asked a judge to show ”Christian forgiveness” and spare the woman from jail for the sake of her children.

The former teacher was attacked in April when she asked Wilks’ young son to stop messing around with barriers at Sainsbury’s on Coldham’s Lane in Cambridge.

Wilks took exception to her comments and viciously headbutted her in the face and punched her leaving the 86-year-old bleedingon the ground.

She was handed a six-month suspended sentence at Cambridge Crown Court on Friday after she admitted assault occasioning grievous bodily harm.

Judge Gareth Hawkesworth praised Miss Holland’s attitude as ”extraordinary” and said he believed Wilks she was ”prone to feeling sorrier for herself than other people”.

Addressing Wilks, he said: ”You are an extremely lucky woman because of the extraordinary approach to this whole matter that has been taken by Mary Holland – one of Christian forgiveness and an interest in your future.

”You lost your temper because you felt affronted that she had complained about the behaviour of your child.

”That sort of conduct is a reflection first of the high standards that Mary Holland has and expects within the community and a reflection of your poor standards of behaviour.”

Sara Walker, prosecuting, said the attack happened two days after Wilks’ close friend Penny Taylor, 32, was murdered at her home in Fanshawe Road, Cambridge.

Michael Duffy, mitigating, said Wilks had been traumatised by Miss Taylor’s stabbing but was trying to carry on with her normal routine for the sake of her son.

He said Wilks believed she had been protecting her son and added: ”A situation arose which ordinarily might have led to a few harsh words on this occasion went much further.”

Miss Holland, who still suffers back pain following the attack told the judge she would be ”very much against her going to prison”.

Speaking outside of court, Miss Holland said: ”I’ve seen women in prison, which does them eternal harm. I have to say the judge acted very honourably.”

Mum-of-two Penny Taylor, from Cambridge, died of stab wounds in her flat in Cambridge, on April 8.

Lloyd Bartley, 46, from Cambridge, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of mother-of-two Miss Taylor and will go before a jury at the start of November.

Judge Hawkesworth imposed a six-month prison term, suspended for 18 months, and ordered Wilks to pay her victim £750 compensation.

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