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Bride's day ruined after drunk niece attacked her at reception.

HER wedding day should have been a day to remember for all the right reasons, but Leissa Williams looks back on her nuptials with sadness and anger. The mother of seven spent her wedding night being photographed and interviewed by police after her niece launched a violent attack, assaulting her aunt. Leissa had invited her niece, Shileen Cotter, 22, to the evening reception after her marriage to Brian Williams, 48. But as Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates' Court heard, Cotter began picking fights with guests at the evening "do" in Mountain Ash after drinking vodka and 12 pints of cider. In court, Cotter, of Tai Bach, Pentrebach, Merthyr Tydfil, admitted two counts of common assault and a further count of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour following an incident on September 1 at her partner's Tonypandy home. She was given a 16-week sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to complete 200 hours' unpaid work. She was also ordered to pay a total of PS300 compensation, an PS80 victim surcharge, a PS150 court charge and PS85 prosecution costs. She was also made the subject of a two-year restraining order not to contact her victims. Newlywed bar worker Leissa, 49, said: "Our wedding was supposed to go without a hitch - it was important to me that all our closest friends and family were there to celebrate with us. "Brian and I wanted quite a minimal guest list because it was only a small venue and I didn't want to cause us any stress in planning a lavish wedding with all the trimmings. "We had only been together three months when Brian proposed. We'd met on a dating site and soon we were talking on the phone every night. By the time we came to meet up I was sure it was love." She added: "I'd suffered a ministroke just weeks before the big day and I wanted to enjoy myself without too much effort. "I was in two minds about inviting Shileen but I thought it would be a nice thing to do." In court, Huw David, prosecuting, said Cotter first got involved in an argument on the night when she was outside the Workingmen's Club in Mountain Ash on September 16. A teenage girl who was standing across the road eating a kebab spotted Cotter arguing with a man, and smashing bottles against a wall. Cotter then turned her attention to the girl, asking: "What are you staring at?" Without warning, Cotter punched the girl in the mouth. "She said that she would take the fork out of the kebab and stab her in the eye with it," said Mr David. Cotter continued hitting out at the scared teenager, slapping and punching her repeatedly as she screamed and shouted at her. "She then grabbed her hair and used it to push [her] around," said Mr David. After that incident, Cotter went on to argue with various members of the bride's family, the court was told. But when Leissa saw her daughter's friend come back into the club in tears, she decided to go outside to confront Cotter. "She [Cotter] was arguing with a group of youngsters, shouting and screaming at them, and Ms Williams told her to wise up," said Mr David. When Cotter saw Ms Williams phoning the police she lunged towards her, punching out at her. "The defendant grabbed a piece of her hair and slammed the complainant's head into a heavy wooden door at the Nixon's Club," said Mr David. The pair fell inside, where Cotter continued to lash out at her victim, who was left with lumps to her head and facial and bodily cuts and bruises. Speaking after the case, Leissa said: "When we were finally separated and the police were called I was bloodied and crying. My special day was ruined by a girl I had known her whole life. "I was comforted by friends and Brian as I got ready to give the police a statement. 'How could she do this?' I sobbed. "Photographs were taken of my injuries. I just hope that this will teach her a lesson." Cotter's defence, Damian Jones, said that she "was trying to turn her life around", and that she had been recently diagnosed with mental diffi- culties. Leissa said: "She could have ruined my marriage before it even began. I hope that in the future she can find some happiness." >Leissa's niece Shileen Cotter attacked the bride on her weddimg day
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 5, 2016
Words:745
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