Four women who beat up a police officer after downing gin, wine and cocktails in Cheshire have been branded a ‘rabbled mob’ by magistrates, but they were spared jail.
Bethany Bennett, 24, Courtney Hardy, 25, Njeri Swanston, 24, and Millie Curley, 21, were arrested after a policewoman was grabbed by the hair and pulled to the floor before being repeatedly struck over the head and body.
The policewoman, known only as constable Dowse, had been called to a disturbance in which a group of men had been fighting outside the Revolution bar in Wilmslow at 3.15am on July 31.
But she was jostled and then attacked by three of the drunken women as she told them to go home.
Swanston slapped a second police officer on the shin after he asked to her move on when he found her sat on a grass verge.
Four women who beat up a police officer after downing gin, wine and cocktails in Cheshire have been branded a ‘rabbled mob’ by magistrates, but they were spared jail. Pictured: Bethany Bennett
Bethany Bennett, 24, Courtney Hardy (pictured), 25, Njeri Swanston, 24, and Millie Curley, 21, were arrested after a policewoman was grabbed by the hair and pulled to the floor before being repeatedly struck over the head and body
The policewoman suffered bruising to her hip, thigh, knee and back.
There was also a small amount of swelling to her forehead and a bruise to the left eye.
She felt dizzy and nauseous due to the number of times she was struck whilst on the floor.
In a statement, PC Dowse said: ‘I have never had an assault like this before and at first I did not want to return to work after the incident.
‘The effects have since left me feeling low and I am emotionally broken. The situation I was in continues to shock me as I was physically attacked.
‘I have spoken to occupational health to discuss the effect of the incident and for my mental health.
‘I have had dreams where I find myself in the situation where I am alone and in attendance on my own on duty.
‘I am a new mother, my priorities have changed since returning to work and I feel vulnerable in my role so much so I do not feel I can perform my duties completely.
‘I have a young child and he has noticed my bruising on my legs. My child does not understand the nature of them.
‘I do not want my children to see me being emotional. My day to day quality of life has deteriorated significantly.’
The policewoman had been called to a disturbance in which a group of men had been fighting outside the Revolution bar in Wilmslow at 3.15am on July 31. Pictured: Njeri Swanston
But she was jostled and then attacked by three of the drunken women as she told them to go home. Pictured: Millie Curley
At Stockport Magistrates’ Court, school worker Bennett, trainee nurse Hardy, hairdresser Swanston and baker Curley admitted assault on police but walked free.
All now have criminal records. Swanston was fined £300 and ordered to pay £117 in costs and Curley was fined £200 with £117 costs.
Bennett was ordered to abide by a 10 week curfew from 7pm to 7am and pay PC Dowse £150 compensation plus £45 costs.
Hardy was conditionally discharged for 18 months and told to pay £107 in costs.
Bennett was a former pupil of the £14,000-a-year Alderley Edge School for Girls and Hardy lives a few doors from her in Wilmslow. Both Swanston and Curley are from Handforth.
The incident occurred in an affluent neighbourhood popular among footballers after the women had been drinking gin, wine and cocktails during a drunken night out to celebrate the end of lockdown.
At Stockport Magistrates’ Court, school worker Bennett (pictured), trainee nurse Hardy, hairdresser Swanston and baker Curley admitted assault on police but walked free
Prosecutor Peter Conroy said: ‘Officers came to disperse the crowd and these four defendants were part of that group.
‘There was a large number of people in the street and there was an altercation. PC Dowse said the females kept coming over and obstructing her and her colleagues.
‘One of the females Miss Bennett was making the situation a lot worse, got into her face and was shouting abuse.
‘Miss Bennett pushed past the officer who then pushed her away. But the defendant then pushed again and the officer grabbed her arm telling her she would be arrested.
‘At this, the defendant grabbed hold of the officer’s body armour and then grabbed her hair.
‘PC Dowse describes how she felt her hair was going to be ripped from her scalp and how she suffered an intense burning sensation.
All now have criminal records. Swanston was fined £300 and ordered to pay £117 in costs and Curley was fined £200 with £117 costs. Pictured: Courtney Hardy
‘She was then struck in the face and fell to the floor. She said she was on the floor and was struck over and over again and she sustained bruising a result.
‘Bennett is the most culpable as she deliberately grabbed her by the hair and pulled her to the floor, but we cannot be sure if it was Bennett who actually struck the officer.
‘Miss Swanston was seen trying to intervene to prevent friends from being dealt with by the police.
‘She is seen to be shouting and swearing towards police officers. A PC Wood was struck on the leg by her hand but he suffered no injuries.
‘Miss Curley was also trying to intervene to prevent her friends from being dealt with.
‘She was abusive towards PC Dowse, acting in an aggressive manner and pushed an officer away.
‘Miss Hardy is the least culpable and can only be seen trying to intervene. She is being obstructive but not to the same extent as the others.
‘Miss Bennett answered largely no comment in police interview. Miss Curley gave an account and said she was trying to move her friend away.
‘She said she was pepper sprayed and was put in a police van. She did not remember how much she drank but it was in the region of six double gins and same well as shots.
Bennett was ordered to abide by a 10 week curfew from 7pm to 7am and pay PC Dowse £150 compensation plus £45 costs. Pictured: Njeri Swanston
‘She described herself as being 7/10 drunk. She could not remember obstructing the constable.
‘Miss Hardy apologised and said was pushed and retaliated. She described the situation as being traumatic.
‘She said she had spent time at a public house before going to another premises in Wilmslow. She was in a group with about six people.
‘She said she had a nice evening, and there were no arguments. She said she was trying to defuse the situation. She did not think she had done anything wrong at the time.
‘Miss Swanston admitted being 6/10 drunk. She said one of her friends was on the floor and the police were grabbing everyone.
‘She said it was a blur and complained how she was pepper sprayed in the eye as a result of this. She admitted to telling an officer to ‘f*** off’.
In mitigation for Bennett, defence lawyer James Riley said: ‘I would say that she does not play a leading role in this group attack. She is a wall flower.
Hardy was conditionally discharged for 18 months and told to pay £107 in costs. Pictured: Millie Curley
Mr Riley added: ‘She works in a local school and this case is likely to affect her employment, as she needs to be DBS checked.
‘It was a short lived incident and it is going to cost her dearly. She is a single mother to a child aged three. She should have just walked away.’
For Hardy, Julian Farley said: ‘She works in a GP Practice and is training to become a nurse. There is a meeting coming up to determine her future. She is hopeful of retaining her job but there is a possibility that she will not.’
For Swanston, Simon Morton said: ‘She sat on the kerb, PC Wood bends down and puts his arm out. He said ‘do you want to leave love?’
‘He puts his arm on her forearm and she said: ‘get off me’ and swings her arm around and it makes contact with the officers shin. There is no injury and she was handcuffed.’
For Curley, Shirley Kelly said: ‘My client accepts she was abusive, aggressive and rude to the officers but PC Dowse says to members of the public to ‘f*** off home’.
‘What she said was no worse than what the officer said.’
Sentencing them chairman of the bench Neil Brettell told them: ‘All of you have been described as intelligent and caring members of society, yet on this night in question after consuming alcohol, you turned into a rabbled mob.
‘Instead of doing what was asked of you, which was to walk away and allow the police to do their job to keep control of the situation, you all became part of the problem.’