A DISPUTE over a car parking space led to a former Darlington shop owner being convicted of common assault.
Darlington Magistrates’ Court heard today (Thursday, June 19) that an argument arose between former bridal shop owner Kate Saint and a female council employee over parking rights in the town’s Beaumont Street West car park.
The private car park is for employees of a Darlington Council-run centre and when Saint was refused permission to use it things became heated.
Prosecutor Brian Payne said that the disagreement resulted in Saint deliberately driving her car at the employee who ended up “sitting or leaning on the bonnet”.
The victim said she was not injured, but was left “quite shaken” by the incident in November last year.
The event was witnessed by hairdresser Sarah Hay who described Saint’s body language as “aggressive”.
She said that when she saw the car moving towards the victim she was scared for her, adding: “I didn’t think it was going to stop.”
Saint, 58, of Cleveland Avenue, Darlington, denied the assault.
Representing herself in court, she claimed the whole incident arose from a personal vendetta.
She said that at one point the council employee was leaning into the passenger side of her car as the door was open and was screaming at her with her face so close that she could feel her spit.
Saint said: “The door shut and as I went forward her arm touched the bonnet of my car and she said ‘ha, I have got you’.”
When Mr Payne questioned that version of events and suggested Saint did indeed strike the woman with her car, she replied: “No, absolutely not.
“I am not stupid, one thing I am not is stupid, I am a businesswoman with a very good reputation in this town - I am not an idiot.”
Mr Payne summed up by saying the assault was a result of Saint not getting her own way and not being used to people standing up to her.
Magistrates found her guilty of assault by beating and imposed a six-month conditional discharge with £685 to pay in court costs, fees and compensation.
A tearful Saint indicated her desire to appeal, calling the verdict “a disgrace”.