A WOMAN smashed her friends’ jaw after a row on a drunken night out.
Shannon Brown, 19, punched brittle bone sufferer Nicole Leadbetter once and caused a double fracture to her jaw, which could only be fixed using metal plates.
Despite the seriousness of the injury and the fact she still suffers pain, numbness and needs further surgery, Miss Leadbetter has shown mercy to her attacker.
In a victim impact statement to the court, Miss Leadbetter said she did not think her friend realised the damage she would do with just one single blow.
Mr Recorder Edward Bindloss sentenced Brown, of Urban Gardens, Washington, who admitted causing grievous bodily harm, to 18 months behind bars, but suspended the jail term for two years, with programme requirements.
The judge told her: “Miss Leadbetter says, in her view, you did not realise the effect of the punch. That is a generous statement she makes in your case and I give weight to it.
“You are a young lady who has made a mistake and I invite you to take this opportunity to change.”
The court heard the women, who had been friends since school, had been on a night out in Washington last November, and a row had started because Brown wanted to buy more drink from the supermarket and others did not.
Prosecutor Mark Guiliani told the court: “Essentially, she punched her friend who has brittle bones, causing a severe fracture to the jaw and insertion of metal plates.
“The complainant had a condition which makes her vulnerable and the defendant knew about that.”
The court heard once it was clear serious injury had been caused, Brown took off her shirt to help stem the bleeding and stayed with her friend until help arrived.
Mr Guiliani added: “She had to have an operation under general anaesthetic.
“She will have to go back to hospital for another operation.
“In an act of mercy, she has actually had the grace to say Brown did not realise what the effects would be.”
The court heard it is unclear when or if Miss Leadbetter will completely recover from the effects of the injury.
Nicholas Lane, defending, said Brown has a “short fuse”, but is keen to address her problems.
Mr Lane said playing football in the Sunday League is a positive aspect of Brown’s life.
He added: “She is truly sorry for this offence, it was a single blow that caused terrible injuries.”