Algerian asylum seeker threw scalding coffee at bookmakers shop manager

Coral Bookmakers' on the corner of John Street and High Street West, Sunderland.
Coral Bookmakers' on the corner of John Street and High Street West, Sunderland.

The manager of a Sunderland bookmakers’ was left in horrendous pain after an ungrateful punter threw a cup of boiling hot coffee in her face.

The woman had just poured the beverage for Nehar Belaid after he walked into Coral on High Street West on March 12, Sunderland magistrates heard.

Coral Bookmakers' on the corner of John Street and High Street West, Sunderland.

Coral Bookmakers' on the corner of John Street and High Street West, Sunderland.

But, instead of saying thank you, the 29-year-old, hurled the full contents of the scalding liquid, which burned the woman’s face, ear and scalp.

Now the Algerian asylum seeker, of Argyle Square, has been given a suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty – through an interpreter – to assault.

Prosecutor Rebecca Laverick said: “She was serving at the counter area when a male customer asked for a coffee.

“She made him a coffee and handed him sugar and a stirrer and he threw the packets on the counter.

It had been a full cup when she’d given it to him, and, she immediately felt pain and her face and scalp were scolded. She believed the clothing she had on saved her neck and chest

Rebecca Laverick, prosecuting

“She picked them up, then bent over to put them in the bin. When she stood back up again she saw the male take a sip of the coffee she had given him.

“He then threw the contents of the cup – containing extremely hot coffee – directly into her face, soaking the right-hand side of her face and her hair, seeping through her jumper, T-shirt and vest.

“It had been a full cup when she’d given it to him, and, she immediately felt pain and her face and scalp were scolded.

“She believed the clothing she had on saved her neck and chest.

“Aside from the pain of the hot coffee being thrown at her, she said she felt shocked and humiliated.”

The court heard other customers in the shop came to her aid. One of them rang the police and another followed Belaid out of the shop.

He was arrested after being pointed out to officers and was identified from CCTV footage.

Ms Laverick added: “The injured party had never seen this man before and didn’t know who he was.

“In her victim statement, she said she’s normally friendly and chatty but now is nervous, especially in relation to handing coffee to strangers.

“She suffered redness and soreness to her ear and also to the right-hand side of her face.

“The pain lasted for a couple of days and the area is extremely sensitive to touch, even when she is brushing her hair.

“She said: ‘The pain aside I was absolutely humiliated, because my hair and my clothing was soaking wet’.”

A probation report said Belaid has applied for refugee status, which is an ongoing process, since coming to the UK about a year ago. He is unable to work but receives £30 per week to fund food and essentials.

Joanne Gatens, defending, said: “The basis of the guilty plea is recklessness. He accepts he threw the coffee but he hadn’t intended for it to hit the lady at all. The bench have not requested a Newton hearing, so he falls to be sentenced on that basis.”

Belaid was jailed for 13 weeks, suspended for a year.

He was told to pay £50 in compensation to his victim and was banned from all Coral premises for 12 months.