Woman hit out following slur

PUBLISHED: 13:12 07 December 2006 | UPDATED: 13:39 04 May 2010

ELY woman Sharon Boylan assaulted a woman in a wheelchair after she was subjected to abuse about her sexuality. Boylan had been called a dirty dyke before she punched Sheree Smith in the face, leaving her with a black eye and a bloody nose. At Ely court

ELY woman Sharon Boylan assaulted a woman in a wheelchair after she was subjected to abuse about her sexuality.

Boylan had been called "a dirty dyke" before she punched Sheree Smith in the face, leaving her with a black eye and a bloody nose.

At Ely courthouse on Thursday, 40-year-old Boylan admitted assaulting Miss Smith, who has since died after suffering from a stroke.

Prosecuting, Francesca Devine said CCTV operators called police to Ely Market Place around 8pm on July 1, after seeing a fight between the two women. Boylan had blood on her face and smelled of alcohol, and both women were arrested.

Footage from the CCTV showed Boylan acting aggressively towards Miss Smith, shouting, pointing, and hitting her in the face. Miss Smith's carer Gary Thompson was also seen pushing Boylan to the ground.

Before Boylan hit Miss Smith, she had been punched in the mouth by Mr Thompson, and suffered a broken tooth, she said.

"It was far from easy for Mr Thompson to be a carer for Miss Smith, and he would want to protect her interests," Mrs Devine conceded. "So it was understandable if there was an overreaction from him."

Mitigating, Michael Judkins said Miss Smith's behaviour towards Boylan had caused her embarrassment.

"She used to shout and call her a dirty dyke," he said. "She had been in a relationship for a long time, and it was offensive and upsetting."

On the night of the assault Boylan had been in town to buy some beer. She had tried to avoid Miss Smith, but was subjected to the same abuse from her.

"She was devastated to hear Sheree Smith had died," he added. "It was a tragic waste of life."

Boylan was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £50 costs.

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