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Woman ‘smashed wine glass in Miss England finalist’s face’, court told

Professional golfer Olivia Cooke was left with horrific facial injuries and glass embedded in her forehead, Maidstone Crown Court heard.


China Gold (Gareth Fuller/PA)

China Gold (Gareth Fuller/PA)

China Gold (Gareth Fuller/PA)

A woman smashed a wine glass into a Miss England finalist’s face, leaving her needing stitches after a row at a bar, a court has heard.

Professional golfer Olivia Cooke was left with horrific facial injuries and glass embedded in her forehead after the incident, Maidstone Crown Court was told.

The 21-year-old, from Barming in Kent, tearfully told jurors that China Gold grabbed her throat twice before attacking her with the glass.

She needed hospital treatment and five stitches to fix the cuts to her face – one of which was 5cm long.

It came after Ms Cooke had become upset with “crude” comments being made about her inside the pub by Gold, the court was told.

In her defence, Gold says Ms Cooke started the fight by throwing a glass at her, the court heard, and that she is not a violent person.

The fracas took place at The Farm House pub in West Malling on October 19 2018.

China Gold, 27, of London Road in Ditton, denies unlawful wounding, and appeared at Maidstone Crown Court for trial on Tuesday.

Giving evidence, Ms Cooke said she met up with a group of people that included Gold, whom she knew through a mutual friend, at the pub at about 8.30pm.

She said: “At 11 o’clock we all went inside for last orders.

Olivia Cooke
Olivia Cooke (Olivia Cooke/PA)

“I literally just walked inside with my friend and that is the point when it all started.”

Ms Cooke said Gold came out with a “crude comment” and started “coming at me verbally, just calling me a slag and a slut and all this, and I am definitely not.

“I just tried to stick up for myself at that point. It all got a bit too much.”

She recalled going outside with a friend and Gold coming outside about five minutes later and confronting her friend.

Ms Cooke said: “That is when, out of nowhere, she has grabbed me by the throat.”

In the ensuing struggle Ms Cooke told the court that Gold had struck her twice with her wine glass, “one to break the glass and the second one to cause injury”.

Prosecutor Emin Kandola said: “The two open wounds over her eye were bleeding significantly in the aftermath of the incident.”

The injuries included a deep 5cm cut to the left hand side of her forehead and a smaller laceration nearby with glass in it.

Ms Kandola said that it was not in dispute that Gold had caused the injuries to Miss Cooke, but that the defendant says she was acting in lawful self-defence.

Defence barrister Robin Griffiths suggested to Ms Cooke that it was she that confronted Gold.

Ms Cooke said this was incorrect.

Mr Griffiths said: “And then China turned to walk away, but you weren’t prepared to let it go, you went after her.”

Ms Cooke said: “I did not.”

He suggested Ms Cooke threw her glass at Gold’s retreating figure, but she said she did not have a glass in her hand at that point.

Mr Griffiths further suggested that Gold had thrown her glass at Ms Cooke, rather than striking her with it twice.

Ms Cooke said this was not the case.

The jury wase told that Ms Cooke’s mother, Julie, has pleaded guilty to assaulting Gold occasioning actual bodily harm in separate proceedings.

Jurors were also told that Olivia Cooke faces a charge of assault against Gold in relation to throwing a glass at her in separate proceedings.

Lacey Custance, who was at the pub and knew both Miss Cooke and Gold, was questioned by Mr Griffiths about what she saw and what she wrote in her witness statement.

Mr Griffiths asked her: “Would it be fair to say that China just did not want to engage in this argument that Olivia was pursuing with her?”

Ms Custance said yes.

Mr Griffiths read out a line from Ms Custance’s statement in which she describes seeing Miss Cook following Gold as she moved away and throw a wine glass at her.

Ms Custance said that is what she saw.

Mr Griffiths said: “And then you see Olivia continue to follow China.

“So despite having thrown a glass with wine in it that bounced off the back of China’s head and smashed as it fell to the ground she won’t give up, she is still going after her, is that correct?”

Ms Custance replied: “Yes. It all happened so quickly.”

Ms Custance said that Gold then turned around and said “what the f***?” and threw her own glass at Miss Cooke’s face and then turned back and carried on walking towards the car park.

The trial continues.