Hammer attack left me blind in one eye and has ruined my life, alleged victim tells court
A north Belfast woman yesterday told a jury how she has been left blind in one eye after being struck "right in the eyeball" with a hammer.
The woman was giving evidence at Belfast Crown Court, where her alleged attacker is standing trial on three offences arising out of the incident, which occurred in the Woodvale area of the city last April.
Samantha Goldring (36), from Tynan Drive in Newtownabbey, has denied the charges - which include causing grievous bodily harm with intent and possessing an offensive weapon with intent - and claims she was acting in self defence.
As the injured woman was called to the witness box, she was questioned about events on the evening of Saturday, April 8 last year which resulted in her losing all sight in her left eye.
The court heard the damaged eye is being replaced with an artificial one.
When asked how the incident, and losing an eye, had left her feeling, the injured woman said: "Well, being a girl and it being on your face, especially with your woman (Goldring) supposed to be a beautician... just a girl doing that to another girl then having to go through all this after this whole year, it's ruined my life over the head of it."
The jury of six men and six women heard the incident occurred outside Goldring's home, which at the time was in Enfield Drive.
It is the Crown's case that following an earlier incident involving the two women, the injured woman called at Goldring's house looking for her boyfriend, then smashed Goldring's living room window.
The injured woman said that after she smashed the window, Goldring came running out of the house and struck her several times in the face and head with a hammer.
From the witness box, the injured woman was asked about the day and evening in question.
Recalling it was the day of the Grand National horse race, she said she and her boyfriend had made plans for that evening, and when he didn't return home by 5pm, she went looking for him.
Having been told he was in Goldring's house, the woman called at the door.
When asked what happened, the woman said Goldring "let on she didn't know who he was".
The woman said: "I obviously kicked off, she called me something then I tried to put my foot in the door, and she got it closed and that was that."
The woman said she went home and spent time with her sister before returning back home.
She said she continued to try and contact her boyfriend on his mobile, and some time after 10pm, she saw him on the street from her bedroom window.
When asked what happened next, the woman said: "I rapped my own bedroom window to see if he would look up.
"He ran on and I obviously knew where he was going, as I was told that's where he was.
"I went round and rang the door and whatever, and there was no answer.
"Then I just had a moment of madness. There was a magnet in my pocket.
"I threw it and put the wee girl's windows in. She came flying out like a psycho.
"I didn't realise she had a hammer in her hand at the time. It was quite a small hammer and I felt a couple of blows to the head, but I didn't go down.
"She came out of the house and ran at me. I thought it was just going to be a fist fight, so I thought, 'Right, come on then'.
"She got me first, she had the hammer. I think I had her by the hair or something.
"I felt the blow to the head but I didn't know what it was at the time."
The woman said she sustained several blows and could recall being hit "right in the eyeball", above her eyebrow and along the side of her head.
She said she realised she had been hit with "something heavy" but didn't know at the time what it was.
She added: "I hit her back. She tried to grab me by the face, so I sunk my teeth into her hand. I was acting in self-defence. She hit me with a hammer, didn't she?"
The woman said the incident ended when her now ex-boyfriend split them up. She said after walking a short distance home, an ambulance was called, and she was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital.
She told the court: "I had to have surgery on my eye and I am blinded for life in that eye now."
When it was suggested to the woman that it was she who attacked Goldring first, which caused Goldring to act in self-defence, the woman replied: "Lies, lies, lies."
She also said she wouldn't have been in "fight mode" if Goldring hadn't been running at her first.
Denying claims that she acted first, the injured woman said: "I was not out to attack her or anything. She ran out of her property at me with a hammer."
The woman denied pulling out Goldring's nose ring and said: "She hit me with a hammer, I grabbed her by the head and hit her a couple of digs.
"She grabbed me by the face so I sank my teeth into her. She hit me several times on the head with a hammer. I was defending myself. How many times do I need to repeat this. She ran at me with a hammer like a psycho."
Goldring is due to give her version of events when she is called to give evidence today.