victim scarred | 

Care worker (21) who 'glassed' woman in pub toilet after online row is jailed

Chelsea Wilson (21) was ordered to spend a month behind bars after being convicted of the attack

Chelsea Wilson

Paul Higgins

A care worker who ‘glassed’ another woman when an online spat erupted in a face-to-face confrontation looked stunned as she was jailed this week.

Although handed a 12-month sentence, Chelsea Wilson (21) was ordered to spend a month behind bars and the rest in supervised licence conditions targeting her “anger management”.

Jailing her at Craigavon Crown Court, Judge Patrick Lynch QC said even though Wilson threw the pint glass at her victim from about a metre, “it must have taken a large degree of force” for the glass to have shattered against her face, leaving the victim with scars on her neck, chin and cheek.

Describing the injuries as “unpleasant,” the judge said the consequences “could have been a lot worse” and the courts were familiar with cases where victims sustained extensive scars “and injuries that are even life-threatening”.

Initially charged with wounding her victim intending to cause grievous bodily harm, Wilson, from Lilburn Hall in Lurgan, entered an 11th-hour guilty plea to causing actual bodily harm on the day her trial was set to begin.

With Wilson standing in the dock flanked by prison officers, prosecuting counsel Nicola Auret outlined how the victim and her friends had been at a birthday party in Gary’s Bar in Portadown and had gone to the toilets when the incident happened on August 8, 2020.

Chelsea Wilson

When Wilson and her friends also went to the toilets, there was a verbal argument about social media posts the defendant had made about the victim’s ex-boyfriend, with Wilson “calling her abusive names”.

As the women traded “verbal insults back and forth,” Wilson threw a pint glass at the victim and it shattered when it struck her on the forehead, with the glass fragments causing cuts to her cheek, chin and neck.

The victim was also left with a black eye, said Ms Auret, adding that she also “felt pain at her left eye” and realised she was bleeding.

The “shocked and shaking” victim told door staff what had happened and when they reported the matter to a passing police patrol, Wilson was arrested while her victim went to hospital and her cuts were closed with paper stitches.

When she was questioned by police, Wilson accepted there had been an argument but she claimed the victim had started it and denying she caused the black eye, claiming the victim had, in fact, pushed into her.

By her pleas, however, Ms Auret said it was clear that “at this late stage she now accepts that she did in fact throw the glass as alleged,” conceding that while the plea and Wilson’s clear record were matters to be taken in mitigation, there were multiple aggravating features including the use of a weapon and the consequences for the victim who had been left with scars on her face and neck.

Defence counsel Scott Mawhinney said it was clear that at the time of the incident Wilson had been “under going significant stress in her life” as her stepfather, a man she had known as a “stable and supportive influence who had guided her” since she was a child, had split up from her mum.

Conceding that her personal plight “is not an excuse but an explanation,” the lawyer highlighted that since the incident, Wilson had referred herself to her GP for “assistance with some thoughts and feelings she was suffering from”.

“I think it’s clear from the reports that these are two individuals who has previously known each other and had a relationship breakdown and once again, that’s not to excuse the behaviour but puts it in a context,” said Mr Mawhinney.

He said that for Wilson, “it’s a night that she thoroughly regrets... and understands it’s a night and a decision that will have everlasting ramifications in her life”.

Those potential ramifications included Wilson losing her job as a care worker and also for her mother and grandmother whose care she was also heavily involved in.

Judge Lynch said had she chosen to fight the wounding charge she would have a faced a six-year sentence for the “very serious case”.

“The impact on the injured party goes well beyond the actual physical scarring which would be unpleasant for anyone but also extremely unpleasant for a young woman,” said the judge.

Imposing a 12-month sentence, he said given Wilson’s age, clear record and the fact that “this was an outburst of temper, it seems to me that it’s necessary and desirable for her and society in general that she should be supervised in some way for an extended period of time”.

The judge said the 11 months on licence would help “particularly with anger manager [issues] that she has”.

Wilson, who was accompanied at court by her grandfather and two friends, looked stunned and emotional as the prison officer put her in handcuffs and led her away to the cells.

The victim told the Sunday World: “I am now glad and relieved that this terrible, traumatic attack has come to a conclusion and Chelsea Wilson is commencing a justified prison sentence, although shorter than what is deserved.”

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