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Barmaid who attacked a mother at London Eye is spared jail

Stephanie Letten (pictured outside court last month), 21, from Clapham in south London, launched an attack on Michelle James

A barmaid who attacked a mother and ripped out clumps of her hair after refusing to apologise for hitting the woman’s daughter with a toilet door at the London Eye has avoided jail.

Stephanie Letten, 21, called Michelle James a ‘fat pig’ before launching the attack in the cubicle near to the popular tourist attraction on July 4 this year.

A court heard that Ms James’ daughter has been left so frightened by the incident that she has started to wet the bed because she is too scared to use her own toilet.

Croydon Magistrates’ Court heard the incident began when Letten came out of the disabled lavatory and hit Ms James’ three-year-old daughter with the door.

Ms James said: ‘My daughter said her shoulder hurt and I checked it. The lady looked at us and I said: “You could say sorry.”

‘She said: “I’m not going to, I don’t have to say sorry” and started mumbling to herself and just walked away.’

Ms James said she the heard Letten shouting ‘that lady’s a pig’ from the sink area.

Letten’s friend Yasmin Sinclair then stood behind Ms James in the cubicle to ask her what had happened.

‘I then heard the lady started to shout again, I heard her getting closer so I turned around,’ Ms James continued. ‘Miss Letten started saying she was going to take me on.

‘I said: “Don’t think because I’m fat and old you can take me on” as this is the kind of thing she had been saying about me earlier.

‘She tried to hit me with her right hand. I put up my hand but neither of us made contact because Miss Sinclair was in between us.

‘She then tried to kick me. I was still in the cubicle with my daughter at this time as there was nowhere to go. When she raised her hand to grab my hair she did so.

‘I shoved her and her friend out of the cubicle towards the sinks. She then continued to hold my hair until she ripped it out.

‘She then started laughing saying that she had my “nappy” hair in her hands and then she threw it towards the sink and it went into the sink.

Letten, who denied the charge, was convicted of assault by beating but managed to avoid a prison sentence

Letten, who denied the charge, was convicted of assault by beating but managed to avoid a prison sentence

‘She then started to say I was fat and a pig again, and then they walked out of the toilets at which point I turned towards my daughter.

‘Before I got to the cubicle I heard foot steps running towards me and she was running towards me like she was going to hit me again.

‘She didn’t make contact with me but she did grab my top and I pulled away from her and she stopped and her friend was saying “lets go”.

‘Her friend was telling me to leave the toilet but I couldn’t leave my child in there. I was telling them to leave.’

She said Letten walked out of the toilet again but then came back again and Ms James held her against the sinks to calm her down.

‘She had a bottle in her hand.’

She said Letten then hurled the bottle at her.

Asked how the incident had affected her, Ms James said: ‘It’s affected my daughter the most.

‘She started wetting the bed a couple of days after. She had five weeks where she was afraid to go to the toilet and wet herself. It even happened at nursery, she had to be changed two or three times a day.

‘Even when you put her on the toilet she said. she didn’t need to go and then would wet herself.’

Earlier Magistrate Edward Gold said: ‘We have heard from the complainant that there was a confrontation on the toilets and that you were the instigator.

‘We found her account credible and her injuries are consistent with the account.

‘We also heard your evidence and that you did accept that you pulled some of her hair out albeit that it was in a confrontation.

‘We are satisfied that you are guilty of assault by beating as per the Crown’s case.’

Letten was handed a community order and ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work over a period of 12 months and pay the victim £100 in compensation.

Letten denied but was convicted of assault by beating.