Mum spared jail after glassing friend causing a 'catastrophic' injury
A mother-of-two who glassed her friend in a scuffle which resulted in a serious and lasting facial injury following a night out has been spared jail.
Clare McKillop admitted a charge of causing her friend grievous bodily harm with intent after she struck her on the side of the face with a glass in the early hours of May 19, 2013.
The victim sustained a 6cm laceration to her left cheek which required 19 stitches.
Belfast Crown Court heard the injury has affected the woman's family life, and left her with self-conscious issues because of the facial scarring.
Judge Gordon Kerr said that despite the offence being serious and the injury "catastrophic", he was taking into account 39-year-old McKillop's remorse, the fact she has a young child and her lack of previous offending.
The court was told that McKillop, from Sheridan Street in Belfast, was among a group of people who were out celebrating a 40th birthday party and who went back to the injured party's house.
Crown prosecutor Simon Jenkins said that when people starting arriving back at the woman's house, she became concerned about the number of people and asked them to leave.
Words were then exchanged between the woman and McKillop.
A "scuffle" then broke out between McKillop and her friend, during which McKillop raised her hand which had a glass in it and struck the other woman on the face.
Saying that it was "not in dispute by the defence that the defendant started it", Mr Jenkins said "the prosecution concede it was not a blow delivered with the intention to cause such a serious injury".
Mr Jenkins also pointed out that an aggravating factor was that the attack took place in the injured woman's own home.
Defence barrister Patrick Lyttle QC branded the incident as a "moment of madness" and said it was "completely out of character" and was done after drink had been taken.
Telling the court McKillop was a "hard-working, decent woman who has done her best to look after her family", Mr Lyttle spoke of his client's genuine remorse for the injury she caused her friend, which he said was not just "crocodile tears".
Mr Lyttle also spoke of McKillop's clear record, and said the attack was "without any form of premeditation".
Passing sentence, Judge Kerr said that during the struggle between the two women, McKillop "lifted a glass in her hand and pushed it towards the face of the victim, and the result of that was quite catastrophic".
Noting the incident has left the injured woman with a facial disfigurement which has affected her life and speaking of the damage McKillop had caused her friend, Judge Kerr said there was nothing to be gained by sending McKillop to prison.
She was handed a 30-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was warned that if she reoffends in that two-year period she will be sent to jail.