Woman who launched ‘ferocious’ Sunderland street attack is locked up indefinitely

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A woman who launched a “ferocious” street attack in Sunderland has been detained in a secure hospital indefinitely.

Charlene Watson pulled a woman to the ground by her hair and kicked her repeatedly as she tried desperately to get up.

A judge said it was fortunate the injuries to the woman, which included a split head and sore ribs, were not more serious.

Watson’s attack last September, at Tathum Street, Sunderland, was captured on CCTV, which was played at Newcastle Crown Court.

Emma Dowling, prosecuting, said: “She was assaulted by the defendant, who pulled her to the ground by her hair then stood over her, kicking her several times.”

Watson confessed after her arrest she had “gone too far” and pleaded guilty to assault. The court heard the 29-year-old, of no fixed address, has previous convictions for violence and was initially remanded to HMP Low Newton.

It was when a psychiatrist at the jail grew concerned about her psychotic state, Watson was transferred to a medium-secure hospital in Middlesbrough, where she will remain.

Judge John Evans said it was a “surprise” Watson’s poor mental state had not come to the attention of the authorities earlier, and sentenced her to a hospital order under the Mental Health Act 1983.