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Drink and drug addict turned on hero who tried to save her from partner’s blows

I was off my head, admits woman jailed for despicable attack on good Samaritan

Aurora Donald
Aurora Donald
Aurora Donald
Ciaran Barnes

By Ciaran Barnes

A woman who repeatedly stamped on the head of a good Samaritan who tried to save her from a beating by her now former boyfriend has been jailed for 15 months.

Judge Neil Rafferty, sitting at Belfast Crown Court, described drug addict Aurora Donald’s attack on passer-by Darren Johnston as “savage, vicious and despicable”.

The 22-year-old attacked her victim after he tried to prevent her being pummelled by her cowardly ex-lover Jonathan Sterrett, who was punching her repeatedly.

A male pensioner who also saw the daylight beating outside Quinn’s Bar in Newcastle, Co Down, was kicked when he tried to intervene.

It was then that Mr Johnston, described in court as a “white knight coming to the rescue”, got involved.

He tried to drag 23-year-old Sterrett off his girlfriend, but the pair turned on him, along with Elizabeth Sterrett (22), who had spent the previous 24 hours taking drugs and drinking with the couple.

All three battered their victim, with Donald stamping repeatedly on his head despite being barefoot.

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Witnesses to the 10am assault were chased off by the trio when they tried to the break up the attack, which only ended when the PSNI arrived at the scene.

Mr Johnston was taken to hospital by ambulance to be treated for cuts, bruises and five loose teeth.

He was taken there again the following day after suffering an angina attack brought on by the stress of the beating.

After her arrest, Donald — who has battled drink and drugs for a decade — told police she had been “off her head”. However, when she sobered up and was shown CCTV footage of the assault, she was more contrite, saying: “It’s disgusting. I am ashamed.”

Throughout her sentencing hearing at Belfast Crown Court, heavily made-up Donald wiped away tears as Judge Rafferty condemned her behaviour.

He said footage he viewed of the assault would live with him for ever and added: “Unfortunately, what is seen cannot be unseen”.

The judge also paid tribute to victim Mr Johnston, who he described as a “white knight coming to the rescue”.

A lawyer for Donald said his client’s life had been “characterised by witnessing abuse

as a young child” and that she had battled alcohol, drugs and self-harm issues since her teenage years.

He added that CCTV footage clearly showed she was the victim of an assault by her then boyfriend, but she inexplicably turned on Mr Johnston after he tried to save her.

Warning the defendant that her life would be blighted until she dealt with her alcohol and drug dependency, Judge Rafferty sentenced her to 15 months in prison for assault, with the same period to be spent on licence after she is freed.

Her co-accused, brother and sister Jonathan Sterrett and Elizabeth Sterrett, from the Village area of south Belfast, were previously jailed for 18 months and 14 months respectively for their roles in the attack.

cbarnes@sundaylife.co.uk

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