Sunderland shopkeeper beaten and choked, hears court

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A SHOPKEEPER was left terrified for herself and her children after being beaten up on her doorstep, a court heard.

Syeda Chowdhury, known as Saly, claims she was choked with her scarf and had lumps of hair torn out during the attack in Sunderland.

A woman and a 16-year-old girl went on trial yesterday accused of assaulting the store owner on Friday, March 9.

Both have denied the offence.

Jacqueline Wright and the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are said to have hit and abused Mrs Chowdhury after an incident at her store in Hendon Valley Road.

Prosecutor Chris Wood told Sunderland Magistrates’ Court that trouble began after a man with the pair stole a box of crisps from the store at about 4.30pm.

Mrs Chowdhury managed to lock herself out of the shop when she went to take back the crisps.

The mum-of-four told magistrates the group were drunk and laughing and hurling abuse at her. They then assaulted her on the doorstep of her nearby home after she went to pick up spare keys.

Defending the pair, Tony Southwick accused Mrs Chowdhury of using her shoe to hit the teenage girl, which she denies, who then struck out in self-defence.

He claimed Mrs Wright, of Mordey Close in Hendon, was trying to break up the fight and even hugged Mrs Chowdhury to apologise.

Giving evidence by video link, pensioner Margaret Corner told the court she had seen Mrs Chowdhury hit the teenager with her shoe.

Mrs Corner intervened after hearing children screaming and seeing Mrs Chowdhury being attacked, she said.

“They were hitting and pulling her out and the children concerned me the most, because they were really terrified.

“She (Mrs Chowdhury) was telling them to go away and leave her alone and things like that.

“I asked them to stop, because you can’t treat people like that.

“Their language was horrendous.”

Mrs Corner added: “People said I should have walked on and left them.

“But I couldn’t when there were children involved.

“I couldn’t have called myself a Christian if I passed by on the other side.”

Mrs Chowdhury said her family was afraid to go out after the attack, which left her with injuries to her face and body.

“I thought it was my last day,” she said.

“They have no right to hit me.”

Proceeding

l A 19-year-old man is due to stand trial at Newcastle Crown Court this month over his alleged part in the attack.

Twitter: @janethejourno