Woman attacked South Shields shop worker with Angry Birds toy after stealing cider, and assaulted taxi driver over change

A woman assaulted a taxi driver and damaged his car after he handed her change to a friend and fellow passenger, a court heard.

By Gareth Crickmer
Friday, 28th August 2020, 6:00 am

Intoxicated Katie Brannen, 27, of Eden Walk, Jarrow, kicked the driver, slapped him twice and attempted to hoof him in the stomach – a blow he deflected

Two months later, on Sunday, September 29, she stole two bottles of cider from a McColls store in South Shields, and attacked staff members.

Brannen, who was again drunk, threw an Angry Birds toy at a counter assistant, hitting her glasses.

The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court

Outside she lunged at another employee with a bottle and spat in his face and on his chest and tried to kick him – but failed when he grabbed her leg.

Brannen was arrested both times after fleeing.

She has now been ordered by a court to carry out unpaid work and pay compensation to all three of her victims.

Prosecutor Kirstie Devine told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “On July 16, the defendant and another are in a taxi.

“She gives her companion money to pay the fare and the driver gives the change to her companion and not to her.

“She is outside and tries to climb back in through an open window. She kicks the middle of the passenger side of the car and caused a dent.

“The driver gets out and she kicks him on the right forearm and uses her right leg to kick him twice in the chest.

“She slaps him and went to kick him on the right side of his stomach but he blocks her and she runs off.”

Mrs Devine said Brannen kicked off at McColls after her request for alcohol at 4.30pm was refused.

She added: “She was intoxicated. She picks up two bottles of cider.

“She also picked up an Angry Birds toy and throws it at (the counter assistant), almost knocking her glasses from her face.

“(The male and female victims) follow her outside. She lunges at him with a bottle, but he manages to get the bottle.

“She starts shouting and she throws the other bottle but misses. She spits in his face and on his chest, and tries to land a kick on his chest, but he catches her leg.”

David Forrester, defending, said: “Life has been a struggle for her, and that’s not to justify the behaviour she has indulged in.

“It’s always in drink. She has gone off the hook in these cases. She is going to be hit in the pocket in terms of compensation and costs.”

Brannen pleaded guilty to shop theft and assaulting the taxi driver, causing criminal damage to his taxi and failing to surrender to custody.

She had denied assault charges against the shop workers and causing harassment, alarm or distress, but was convicted at trial in her absence.

Magistrates gave her an 18-month community order with 140 hours of unpaid work and 15 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service.

She must pay the taxi driver £300 for damage to his VW Passat, and give him, Mr Davison and Ms Taylor £50 compensation.

There were no court costs.

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