A dinner lady accused of punching her neighbour’s sister and making a derogatory comment has received a conditional discharge.
The incident took place at around 8pm on October 31 last year, as the victim – accompanied by her sister and children – was on her way back from a Hallowe’en party.
On Tuesday, Anne Gray, prosecuting, told Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court that Jennifer Janet Jarvis had approached the sisters, who were talking to her ex-partner in the street, to ask her neighbour, who was also a former friend, to return her spare keys.
As her neighbour went to get the keys, Jarvis punched her sister, Lisa Kelly, in the face.
Jarvis was marched back to her house by the neighbour and her husband, at which point she made a derogatory remark, said Mrs Gray.
She added: “She said at the time of the incident she hadn’t had anything to drink at all but by the time police were called she had drunk about half a bottle of wine. Lisa Kelly said she thought when this happened that Miss Jarvis had been drinking.”
Jarvis was breathalysed and recorded 139 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.
Jarvis, 29, of Birch Gardens, Badwell Ash, had previously denied assaulting Lisa Kelly by beating but changed her plea at the start of her trial.
She had previously pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.
In mitigation, Paul Booty said thatJarvis was at home when she saw a former friend who had been holding keys in case she lost hers.
He said: “They had a dispute, because of the people present an argument ensued, followed by Miss Jarvis losing it and striking the victim once, with no lasting injury.”
He said the presence of children was an aggravating factor but added that Jarvis ‘completely denied’ saying the offensive remark.
As a self-employed cleaner and dinner lady, Jarvis would have problems with future employment-related checks, Mr Booty told the court .
“This is, to some extent, punishment in its own right,” he said.
For both offences, Jarvis was conditionally discharged for 12 months and ordered to pay £150 in compensation to the victim. She was further ordered to pay costs of £200 and a £15 victim surcharge.