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A YOUNG woman has been convicted of "bottling" a woman in an assault that took place only two months after she was cleared of a similar offence in the same nightclub.

In February a jury at Teesside Crown Court unanimously acquitted Laura Waites of a bottle attack in the Cornerhouse nightclub, Middlesbrough in January 2007.

But two months later the 21-year-old launched an attack in the club's toilets on Lauren Smith who was out enjoying a night with friends.

Prosecutor Paul Newcombe said Waites hit Miss Smith across the head with a bottle before Miss Smith retaliated with a punch in the April 24 incident.

Waites, of Wembley Way, Stockton, who pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm, told the Gazette after her February trial: "Going on nights out, I'm so anxious. I could be in the wrong place at the wrong time and something flares up. Now I'll just steer clear of anything like that."

Barrister Robert Mochrie represented the 21-year-old in both her trial in February and her sentencing hearing last week.

He told the court: "Prior to her trial Laura Waites had everything going for her in life - doing a degree course and having the aspiration of being a teacher."

But Mr Mochrie said his client then had "some sort of breakdown" began drinking excessively - up to two bottles of wine a day plus numerous spirits - and ended up receiving psychiatric treatment.

Judge Les Spittle said: "It's a sad sight to see a young woman that had potential blow it - throw it away - and for what? Transient pleasures and drink and drugs."

He gave Waites a 12-month suspended prison sentence with two years' supervision and ordered her to pay pounds 700 in costs and pounds 200 compensation to Miss Smith.


CLEARED: How we reported on Laura Waites' acquittal in February
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 3, 2008
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