Woman 'clawed' churchwarden's face

A 56-year-old woman who 'clawed' a churchwarden across the face at a Norfolk village church could be given an ASBO after being convicted of assault.Hilary Carling - who three years ago was found guilty of harassing neighbours in Weasenham - left Peter Brown with blood coming out of cuts to his face.

A 56-year-old woman who 'clawed' a churchwarden across the face at a village church could be given an Asbo or even a custodial sentence after being convicted of assault.

Hilary Carling, who three years ago was found guilty of harassing neighbours at Weasenham, left Peter Brown with blood coming from cuts, a court heard.

On Tuesday, Swaffham Magistrates' Court was told there had been a long history of problems involving Carling in the village.

Police, with the help of local people, have put together a report asking for an anti-social behaviour order to be imposed on her.

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It will be considered next Tuesday when Carling, of The Green, Weasenham, is sentenced for the assault on Mr Brown last September.

At the end of a day-long trial on Tuesday, deputy district judge Parkash Aujila convicted her of assault, a charge she had denied.

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He adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and for the Asbo request to be considered

and said all options should be considered - including custody.

The court was told by prosecuting lawyer Nicholas Crampton that Carling carried out a vindictive and aggressive assault on the churchwarden, who was trying to stop her getting into St Peter's Church, Weas-enham, during a rehearsal for a drama club production.

Mr Brown said Carling put both hands up and put them across his face, scratched him and left him bleeding.

He was on the path outside and put his arms out in a 'crucifixion position' to stop her getting past into the building when she ran at him.

Mr Brown said the church was locked during the rehearsal but Carling had been banging on the door, trying to get in.

Robert Burton, who was on his way to the rehearsal and saw the assault, said Carling had been shouting abuse and then clawed Mr Brown's face. Pictures of Mr Brown's injuries were taken a few minutes after the assault showing blood on his face.

Carling said she had a legal right to go into the church and had just tried to get past Mr Brown, and accused him and Mr Burton of lying. She claimed she had been prev-ented regularly from going into the church or been thrown out.

The court was told that Carling was convicted in February 2006 of harassing her neighbours and was given a conditional dis-charge and made the subject of a restraining order. At the time, the court at Swaffham was told how she subjected Anthony Clemow and his wife Jill to a tirade of abuse.

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