Drunken aunt hit niece with shoe in Stockton nightclub, court told

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Regional Chief Reporter

AN aunt struck her niece in the face with a heeled shoe during a drunken night out, a court heard.

Cindy Steinmetz wept as Teesside Crown Court heard how she attacked Gabrielle Harbottle, then 16, in a Stockton nightclub.

The teenage student was left with a 1cm cut below her right eye following the incident.

David Crook, prosecuting, said the attack happened when the aunt was on a night out with her niece and others in February this year.

At about 3.15am other members of the group wanted to go home, but 35-year-old Steinmetz wanted to stay in the nightclub.

She became aggressive, pushing Miss Harbottle with both hands and swearing at her. She then hit her once in the face with her shoe.

The victim gave a statement to police saying she used to be friends with her aunt, but now hated her and never wanted to speak to her again.

Andrew Turton, mitigating, said his client was a vulnerable woman with a troubled past who could not explain her actions.

“Obviously drink has played it’s part,” he added.

He said she believed she had taken her shoes off and was holding them in her hand before the attack, rather than taking her shoe off to use as a weapon.

Mr Turton handed several character references to the judge, including one from his client’s teenage son.

Steinmetz pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm at an earlier hearing.

The court heard she had a previous conviction for assaulting a police officer by biting him during an incident in Northallerton town centre in 2007.

Sentencing her to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, Recorder Edward Bindloss told her: “You were someone she trusted and looked up to.

“You should have been a role model to her – you should have been guiding her not assaulting her.”

Steinmetz, of Camden Street, Stockton, was made subject to an 18-month supervision order.

Mr Bindloss said he was not issuing an order for compensation as the defendant and victim where members of the same family.

“The issue of compensation is a matter between the two of you,” he told Steinmetz.

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