Times caption: Natalie Ashworth outside the court after sentencing (CAVENDISH PRESS)
A piece in today’s Times, emphases ours:
A woman who threatened to have her neighbour shot smiled as she walked free from court, minutes after crying in the dock.
Natalie Ashworth, 32, sobbed as she faced sentencing at Minshull Street crown court in Manchester, having admitted witness intimidation. She was given a suspended jail term and was photographed laughing with a friend outside the courthouse.
Ashworth, who has previous convictions for public order offences, threatened David Shepley and said that his mother’s pub would be destroyed unless he dropped assault and criminal damage charges against her, the court was told. Another neighbour heard her shout “drop the charges or I will go to jail or you will get shot”. She also said that she could “not go back to prison” and that “If I get locked up then I have got friends who will rush his house and his mum’s pub will be no more”.
Ashworth, a mother of two from Reddish, Stockport, was given a 12-month jail term suspended for two years by Judge John Potter, who allowed her to sit down while he sentenced her. He told Ashworth: “I can see that you are distressed so please remain seated.” The judge added: “This is a particularly serious matter because people who undermine the justice system in this way normally go to prison. By “people” I mean men, obviously, but you’re a woman, so undermining the justice system in this way – threatening to have your neighbour shot – is totally OK. Don’t feel bad about it, right? We do all we can to not send ladies to prison, especially if they’re Mums. I expect you were the victim of domestic violence or something. Almost all women are.” [J4MB: We’ve added a few words by way of possible explanation for the idiocy of the judge’s words.]
He told her that she was “somebody who offends while on drink and that appears to be the root cause of your offending on many occasions”. [J4MB: Alcohol is a mitigating factor for women, an aggravating factor for men. Gender equality is a fine thing.] She was now living at a refuge centre, he noted, where there had been a “significant change” in her behaviour.
“It seems to me that you are moving away from your problems with alcohol in a safe environment and your offending will be likely reduced,” he said. He also acknowledged her guilty plea.
The court was told that the incidents occurred in June after she fell out with Mr Shepley and that she had beaten him up and smashed his mobile phone. She had 20 previous offences, including for racially aggravated disorder in 2015 and 2016, for which she received a suspended jail term.
Ashworth was banned from contacting Mr Shepley under the terms of a restraining order.
She is due to face trial for the assault and damage charges at a magistrates’ court this week.
You can subscribe to The Times here.
If everyone who read this gave us just £1.00 – or even better, £1.00 or more, monthly – we could change the world. Click here to make a difference. Thanks.