Jail for woman who paralysed friend in row over £40

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A WOMAN has been jailed for leaving her friend brain damaged and able to communicate only with her eyes after an attack over £40.

Joanne Johnson’s victim has to look at placards showing “yes” or “no” to answer questions.

The 45-year-old mum spent weeks in a coma and had to breathe and be fed through tubes, after a push to the ground by Joanne Johnson, of Washington, left her with “catastrophic” injuries.

Miss Murray now requires constant care Turn to Page 3

and is prone to serious infections her family fear will eventually kill her.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told Newcastle Crown Court: “She is not in a vegetative state, she is aware of surroundings and understands speech.

“She can answer yes and no by movement of her eyes. She has the words yes or no placed above her line of sight. The words are on large printed card on an upright stand.

“She is now able to indicate whether she is in pain, too hot, too cold or uncomfortable.

“She can make choices with regard to matters such as style of her hair and application of skin creams.”

Miss Murray has recently been re-admitted to the RVI with pneumonia.

At court yesterday Johnson, of Barmston Way, Barmston, was jailed for two years.

The 46-year-old had previously admitted causing grievous bodily harm with the single push, which resulted in Miss Murray hitting her head on the ground, which was during a row over £40.

Judge Penny Moreland told her: “You have, in short, ruined her life.

“The effects of what you did have also been suffered by her family and you have ruined their lives too.

“Her son has, in effect, lost his mother. Her mother has, in effect, lost her daughter and that is as a result of what you did.

“It’s hard to imagine a more serious injury. This was a single push which had this catastrophic effect.”

The court heard Miss Murray had been in bed at her Washington home watching television when Johnson turned up at her door drunk on January 30 last year.

Mr Pallister told the court Johnson was “shouting and loud,” accusing Miss Murray of stealing £40 from her.

As the row flared, Johnson pushed Miss Murray to the floor, where she was lying when her adult son came downstairs.

Mr Pallister said: “At that point she was conscious, saying ‘my head hurts’.”

Miss Murray was taken to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Gateshead where she was deeply unconscious.

A CT scan revealed a large bleed around the right side of her brain.

In November last year she was moved to Sunderland Royal Hospital where she gradually started to be able to communicate with the placards and gain limited movement of her limbs.

Tony Davis, defending, said Johnson bitterly regrets what happened and is an ordinarily “hard-working, caring mother who made a terrible error of judgement”.

Twitter: @craigjourno