A FIGHT that broke out in hospital as an elderly woman lay hours from death has seen one of her daughters appear in court.
Lesley Tinman, 63, of Mayfield Road, Gosport, appeared at Fareham Magistrates’ Court charged with two counts of assault — one against her sister Dawn Stickney and one against her nephew Nicholas Stickney.
The court heard Tinman lashed out, firstly at Mr Stickney after he had commented on what he said was inappropriate behaviour at her mother’s bedside.
Nicholas said in court that he had seen his aunt flick back the curtain providing his grandmother with some privacy while she was being tended to by nurses and say ‘is she dead yet?’.
Tinman denied saying those exact words and said that when he challenged her outside the ward, she felt intimidated and upset and flicked her hand to get rid of him.
The court heard that when Mr Stickney was struck, he said ‘that’s assault’ and his mother and Tinman’s sister Mrs Stickney rushed over and ‘jumped’ on her.
As the two were tussling, Mrs Stickney’s thumb ended up in Tinman’s mouth and she bit it, causing it to bleed.
Tinman said she did not know that the thumb belonged to her sister, and that she was again acting in self-defence.
Mrs Stickney said it took months for her thumb to heal and that she had lost her thumbnail following the attack on June 23.
The incident happened at QA Hospital at around 5pm, and their mother, Lillian Prince, died a few hours later, aged 86.
At least 14 friends and family packed into the court room, from both sides, to hear the case.
Details of a rift between the sisters over the state of their mother’s house and allegations of theft from the mother’s bank account were heard. Tinman accused her sister of spending her mother’s money and of allowing her to live in poor conditions, which Mrs Stickney denied.
Another sister, Jennifer Colburn, who was at the hospital on the day, gave evidence to support Mrs Stickney and Mr Stickney.
Chairwoman of the bench Dr Nancy North found Tinman not guilty on both counts. Dr North said: ‘The action was in self-defence and it was reasonable in the circumstances and there were special circumstances on that day.’