Woman jailed for club glass attack
A woman has been jailed for five years for slashing the neck of the daughter of Ground Force star Tommy Walsh.
Leanne Bloomfield, 29, denied using a shard of glass to cut Natalie Walsh, 22, upwards from her neck to her chin at Cafe De Paris in London's West End in February last year.
But a jury found the mother of two guilty of wounding with intent following a four-day trial last month.
She was sentenced to five years at Southwark Crown Court in London today after Judge Peter Susman QC told her: "Quite why your attack on her was so violent remains unclear to me."
Bloomfield, dressed in all-black and wearing dark-rimmed glasses, sobbed throughout the sentencing hearing as members of her family sat in court.
The victim and her family, including Mr Walsh, did not attend the sentencing.
The court heard the attack on February 3 last year left Ms Walsh with a 5cm cut on her neck and a severed tendon in her thumb.
She required stitches and later underwent cosmetic surgery on her injuries.
Bloomfield had texted a friend after the attack to say she had had a "massive punch up with some girl", adding: "ha ha, b****, she got me good in the nose through", the court heard.
Bloomfield went on to say: "Me and my sister did a number on her, she was in a heap. They didn't catch me, ha ha."
Judge Susman said Ms Walsh's feeling of safety had been "much affected" following the attack.
He told Bloomfield she remains "in denial" as she continues to protest her innocence.
While it was not clear if the attack was provoked, it did not "justify such a violent attack", the judge said.
"You were very tearful in the witness box," he said.
"I form the impression it wasn't because you were sorry but because you were caught."
Bloomfield, of Highwoods, in Colchester, Essex, has no previous convictions but was cautioned by police in August 2004 for common assault after fighting a woman in the street, the court heard.
She will serve half of her sentence in prison before being released on licence, the judge ruled.
Judge Susman said he had taken into account the ill health of the defendant, who suffers with heart murmurs and is diagnosed with depression.
"I believe you will find it difficult to cope in prison," he said.
The judge said the sentence had been reduced from six to five years to take into account the defendant's children who "are the ones who are going to suffer".
"Any sentence I impose on you is going to punish them as well as you and they are not deserving of any punishment all," he said.
In mitigation, Sasha Bailey, defending Bloomfield, said her client was the primary carer for a five-year-old daughter and son, aged two.
Her daughter will stay with her maternal grandmother during the sentence while her son will live with his father, Ms Bailey said.
Ms Bailey told the court Bloomfield had also been subjected to "hundreds of comments" on online newspaper reports of the case, some of which "effectively amounted to death threats".
During sentencing, Judge Susman said any "vilification" Bloomfield had been subjected to through online posts had played no part in his judgment.
Despite not attending the sentencing hearing, Mr Walsh spoke after the verdict on January 13 to condemn the defendant's "laddish" behaviour during the assault.
The celebrity builder, who rose to fame on BBC show Ground Force with Alan Titchmarsh and Charlie Dimmock, said he was "satisfied" with the jury's decision.
Speaking after the verdict, he said: "There are no winners in this. The only winner is justice has been seen to be done. It was really tough but we are a really close knit family. We can move on. We've no interest in what happens from here."
Mr Walsh said Bloomfield "didn't appear remorseful or contrite" following the attack.
"She has two children. You should think about your behaviour before you go and behave drunkenly or laddishly," he added.
Mr Walsh said his daughter had achieved a first in her medicine degree at King's College in central London despite deferring her final exams after the attack.