Warranted issued for ink attacker who assaulted crime writer Val McDermid

Sandra Botham at Sunderland Magistrates.
Sandra Botham at Sunderland Magistrates.
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INK attacker Sandra Botham faces arrest after failing to attend court.

The pensioner was convicted of assault by throwing ink at best-selling author Val McDermid.

Botham, who stormed out of the trial, was convicted in her absence of common assault on the author during a book signing at Sunderland University.

The 64-year-old, of Ridley Terrace, Hendon, had objected to a paragraph written by Ms McDermid in her 1985 book A Suitable Job for a Woman, which Botham claims was critical of herself and her family.

In revenge, she dressed in disguise, pulling on a blonde wig and hat and, on December 6 last year, threw ink into Ms McDermid’s mouth during the signing session.

Botham was due to attend court yesterday, but city magistrates issued a warrant after hearing her daughter had handed in a sick note for her which was nearly a week out of date.

The court was told the seven-day note, which said she was suffering from a chest infection, was dated July 19 and said she was not fit to work.

Chris Wilson, representing Botham, said she suffered from health problems and asked magistrates allow his firm seven days to contact her.

Chairman of the bench John Bolam refused and ordered the court issue a warrant not backed with bail, after a request from prosecutor Brian Payne.