Forest Town woman denies attacking ambulance driver

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A WOMAN dragged an off-duty ambulance driver to the floor and kicked and punched her repeatedly in the head during an attack, it was alleged in court this week.

However, defendant Gemma Butler, of Sulby Close, Forest Town, even denies being involved in the incident outside The Ritz pub in Clipstone on New Year’s Day.

The 25-year-old is standing trial at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Lynne Rae.

Giving evidence, Mrs Rae said that she had tried to break up a fight between Miss Butler’s father, John Butler, and one of Mrs Rae’s neighbours, Brian Moore, outside the busy pub on the evening of 1st January.

Working as a patient transfer driver at Kings Mill Hospital, Mrs Rae had only dropped into the pub for a few drinks with friends because she was on duty the next day.

She said she had drunk around a pint-and-a-half of lager and had gone outside for a cigarette when the fight broke out.

While trying to get into the middle of the two brawling men, she says she felt her hair being pulled and was dragged to the ground where she said up to 15 blows rained down on her face.

She recalls hearing Miss Butler’s voice as she was being hit shouting “Don’t hit my dad”.

After finally being helped to her feet a few minutes later, she said she was still being confronted by Miss Butler who was trying to get at her by throwing punches, but was being held back.

She admitted knowing Gemma Butler for over 15 years, and that her daughters had played with her during her younger years, but had no idea why Miss Butler had attacked her.

She contacted the police who took a statement from her two days later. She went to hospital on 2nd January where she was treated for swelling and bruising to her face.

Brian Moore, who admitted fighting on the ground, gave evidence that he saw Gemma Butler attack Mrs Rae as she tied to intervene.

Mrs Rae’s niece, Tara Booth, also took to the stand and said she had been unaware of the incidents outside The Ritz, but said she had been approached by Miss Butler later that evening saying to her “I just beat up your aunty”.

But Miss Butler says she did not only not talk to Miss Booth, but said the first she knew of the attack on Mrs Rae was when she was arrested for it.

She admitted being in The Ritz that night with friends and boyfriend Colin Brown, and but said the pair had left at around 8.30pm to get home because Mr Brown was electronically tagged and was under a 9pm curfew. She said she had been drinking since early afternoon, but said she was not “overly drunk”.

She claimed she had no reason to go outside at any point, and that although she saw Lynne Rae in the pub, did not speak with her. This was also supported by her boyfriend, Colin Brown, who also gave evidence.

Asked by Jim Mason of the Crown Prosecution Service why Mrs Rae would blame her if she hadn’t anything to do with it, Miss Butler said it may have related to an incident in The Squinting Cat pub in Clipstone six years ago when the pair clashed, but had since called a truce.

Mr Mason accused her of manipulating the facts, saying: “It was you who assaulted Lynne Rae, and it is you who is a bare-faced liar. You were getting your own back, you came up with the incident in the Cat and you kicked her in the head when you got the opportunity.”

The trial is set to continue on 10th October.