Carnival cheer turned to rage

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A FAMILY day out at Peterlee Carnival ended in violence after a drunk mum lashed out at her friend.

Kelly Poad was spending the evening with pals Kerry O’Connor, Victoria Arnold and their children after enjoying the town’s annual fair.

But the fun descended into a fracas after mum-of-two Poad lashed out at Ms O’Connor, throwing a plastic glass at her before landing punches, a court heard.

Witnesses said she had become agitated after drinking eight cans of lager during the celebrations on Saturday, September 4.

The blows – witnessed by the women’s children – left Ms O’Connor with a cut to her nose.

Durham Crown Court was told the wound has left a red scar and causes discomfort when she wears her glasses for long periods of time, with the fight also causing bruising to her upper arm and right thigh.

Lynsey Colling, prosecuting, told how the victim classed the disturbance as an unprovoked attack and had not expected her friend to lash out.

Mrs Colling said: “She is fearful this could happen again and she feels the defendant didn’t think about the consequences.”

She added Ms O’Connor expressed concern the incident had happened in front of youngsters, with the court told the children were aged from nine to 14.

Poad entered a guilty plea to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The 33-year-old, previously of Tenth Street, Horden, and now of Haswell, has 11 convictions for 29 offences, with a caution given in 2009 for assault the only previous incident of violence on her record.

Stuart Graham, mitigating, said Poad had seen red after taking exception to a comment Ms O’Connor had made about her daughter.

He explained she had a long history of psychiatric problems and suffered a troubled childhood, but was seeking help for her issues.

The mum said she was doing well since their recent move and feared her daughters, aged 11 and 14, would be taken into care and hoped to give them a stable family upbringing.

Mr Graham added: “It really is a case of one woman who has trouble with alcohol and has snapped.

“She was silly, but cannot turn the clock back now.

“She is now working with the authorities and has a support worker.

“She is a troubled individual who is trying her best with limited skills and doing the best she can for her family.”

Recorder Paul Reid gave Poad a six-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, with 12 months supervision, adding a 7pm to 7am curfew would serve as a “reminder not to behave like this again”.