A PAIR of feuding parents landed themselves in court after coming to blows while collecting their children from a South Tyneside school.
Youngsters watched as Michael Appleby punched Vikki Kyle to the ground after she headbutted him outside St Mary’s RC Primary School in Jarrow.
Both pleaded guilty to charges of assault against each other at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
The court heard that the pair had known each other for a decade, and had previously been in a relationship, but an ongoing dispute had sparked the violence.
They had gone to collect their children at lunchtime on Wednesday, March 5, when their paths crossed.
Paul Anderson, prosecuting said: “There is an exchange of words between the two parties.
“Kyle attacked Appleby, headbutting him in the face.
“His response is that he punched her in the face until she fell to the floor.
“This is an unsavoury incident where children are being collected from school.
“He is interviewed by police and gives an account that she headbutted him and he dropped her. He said she had been spreading rumours about all sorts of things in his life.
“He said there had been a coming together. He said he has since thought about it in the cold light of day and admits he went further than he needed to.
The court heard that Kyle suffered a cut and swollen lip and swollen cheek, while Appleby had a slight injury to his nose.
David Forrester, defending Appleby, said: “It’s a very unusual case. You rarely get both people in a fight who are both culpable.
“He accepts striking three or four blows. He is bigger than her, and he had gone beyond what was a reasonable defence. It’s a very difficult situation to ask someone to measure what their response should be after they have been assaulted.
“The aggravating feature is it happened outside a nursery, but the mitigation is that he had been assaulted quite seriously. If he hadn’t been assaulted, this wouldn’t have happened.”
The court heard that Kyle accepted she struck the first blow after fearing she was going to be assaulted herself.
Laura Johnson, defending, said: “She has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and should be given full credit for that.
“She has known him for about 10 years, and they used to date each other.
“She picked up her child and was leaving when he looked at her in a threatening manner and gestured towards her. He walked up to her and then leant in towards her. She accepts she headbutted him in the face.
“It was not something she wanted her children to see or indeed other children to see.
“She had been told by others that he had been waiting for her outside the gates of the school for the two days previous.”
“The headbutt is an aggravating feature, as is the location, but you may feel that her lack of previous convictions and her remorse will allow you to give her a conditional discharge. It was a one-off isolated incident.”
Kyle, 26, of Stanhope Road, Jarrow, was given a nine-month conditional discharge.
A pre-sentence report is to be completed for Appleby. The 32-year-old, of Bideford Gardens, Jarrow, will be back at court for sentencing on Thursday, May 1.