The aunt of murdered Sunderland schoolgirl Nikki Allan has admitted attacking a pub landlord she accused of disrespecting her niece’s memory.
Magistrates heard Joan Prest had gone into The Guide Post in Ryhope on Friday, November 16, and asked Keith Dewart for a drink.
“Mr Dewart states he refused the defendant a drink as she was barred for aggressive behaviour towards staff in the past,” said Lesley Burgess, prosecuting.
Prest had then picked up a blue charity box, which Mr Dewart thought she was going to take or throw.
“He was scared he was going to be injured,” said Miss Burgess.
Prest had picked up the bar runner and thrown it at Mr Dewart, hitting him in the shoulder and chest.
I understand that photographs were sent to the family by people who are believed to have come from the pub, including the manager, showing people in a detrimental manner.Charlton Carr
She had then threatened to ‘nut’ and burn him before leaving.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Dewart said: “I fear for my wife’s safety the most, but also my own. Behaviour like this is ruining my business and affecting trade.”
Prest, 55, of Barnes Road, Murton, admitted assaulting Mr Dewart when she appeared before South Shields Magistrates Court.
Charlton Carr, representing Prest, said the case related to Nikki’s murder and the arrest last year of a new suspect in the hunt for her killer.
“The family, including Miss Prest, have been quite active in helping the police, trying to keep the memory of Nikki Allan alive and supporting every avenue of investigation with a view to trying to find out who was responsible,” he said.
There had been ‘some friction’ between Mr Dewart and Nikki’s family, said Mr Carr, and that there has been ‘ridiculing’ of Nikki Allan’s memory and the inquiry.
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“I understand that photographs were sent to the family by people who are believed to have come from the pub, showing people in a detrimental manner.”
Prest had gone to the pub to confront Mr Dewart: “On this particular day, her intention was to go round to see the manager and then say ‘Stop what you are doing’,” said Mr Carr.
“I think the words were ‘I don’t care who it is, stop with the photographs, stop with the detrimental comments,’ probably said in a more fruitful way than today, and what happens is the manager , in her words, tells her to ‘***k off.’
“At that moment, she snaps, she picks up the bar runner and throws it across the bar.”
A prosection request for a restraining order was using ‘a sledgehammer to crack a walnut,’ said Mr Carr.
Magistrates gave Prest a conditional discharge and ordered her to pay £85 costs and £20 victim surcharge.