Woman jailed in Malta after violent outburst

Shannon-Leigh Williams was jailed for nine months for elbowing a prison warden.  Picture: Matthew Mirabelli, The Times of Malta
Shannon-Leigh Williams was jailed for nine months for elbowing a prison warden. Picture: Matthew Mirabelli, The Times of Malta
Roger Giese

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  • Shannon-Leigh Williams is jailed for assualt and fined £3,000
  • She elbowed a prison warden in the chin after refusing to be strip searched
  • The Portsmouth woman was originally arrested for stealing a suitcase
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A WOMAN who stole a suitcase at a Maltese airport has been sent to jail for assaulting a prison warden.

As reported in The Times of Malta, Shannon-Leigh Williams, 20, from Portsmouth, was jailed for nine months and fined €4,000 (about £3,000) for elbowing the warden, Alison Vassallo, in the face after she objected to being strip-searched on August 1 last year.

re you trying to tell me that you happen to have eight identical dresses to these?

Carol Peralta

It followed Ms Williams’ arrest on June 9 for taking a suitcase from the baggage reclaim area at Malta International Airport.
She was identified when the Maltese owners of the suitcase spotted her in a resort town wearing items and carrying a handbag that had been in the stolen luggage.

Ms Williams originally pleaded not guilty to the theft, claiming the suitcase held a handbag similar to her own and the other contents also looked similar at first glance.

The magistrate, Carol Peralta, showed her pictures of eight dresses in the stolen luggage and asked her: ‘Are you trying to tell me that you happen to have eight identical dresses to these?’

But Ms Williams later changed her plea to guilty and was sentenced to one year behind 
bars, suspended for two years.

During one hearing she had to be escorted from the courtroom after yelling abuse at a magistrate.

The assault happened after Ms Williams had been taken into custody, and was escorted to the guest house where she was staying to collect her things.

Once back at the prison, she was strip-searched and her personal items were searched, which is standard practice in Malta.

Ms Vassallo told the court that when Ms Williams’ belongings were being searched, she saw her place something inside a folder, and when it was checked a mobile sim card was found.

A second strip-search was ordered to ensure that nothing else was being concealed, but Ms Williams refused, became aggressive and elbowed Ms Vassallo in the chin, which she later received stitches for.