"Awful" female Deliveroo rider who bit customer's thumb off in savage row over pizza is spared jail

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A female Deliveroo rider who bit a customer's thumb off in a savage row over pizza was spared jail.

Jenniffer RochaJenniffer Rocha
Jenniffer Rocha | Pic: Solent News

Jenniffer Rocha, 35, severed Stephen Jenkinson's thumb down to the knuckle following an argument after she delivered his Pizza Express order to the wrong address.

Salisbury Crown Court heard the pair had a brief argument over a delivery code before the Brazilian delivery worker attacked the 36-year-old plumber, who has been left “permanently disabled” and unable to work. Rocha admitted a charge of grievous bodily harm without intent and will be sentenced at a later date.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Jenkinson was rushed to hospital following the attack where he underwent an operation which saw part of his big toe surgically sewn onto the stump of his missing thumb.

Mr Jenkinson had ordered pizza from Deliveroo to his Aldershot home on December 14, 2022, but Rocha arrived at the wrong address. A row erupted over a delivery code he was meant to show to prove his purchase when he went out to collect his food but forgot to bring his phone.

Rocha then launched her attack as he raised his hands to Rocha's motorcycle helmet and she bit his thumb. “All I remember, I was shaking her helmet trying to get her off", he said. “The force with which she must have been biting, she'd clean taken it off.”

Mr Jenkinson said when he lifted his arm after she had let go it “sprayed her with blood”. He said his thumb, which was severed just above the knuckle, looked as though it had "gone through a chainsaw". 

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Rocha, a married mother of two who was making deliveries on her moped as a replacement rider for her husband, admitted grievous bodily harm in March on the eve of her trial.

Mr Jenkinson told the court of the impact: "This assault has cost me my relationship, my time, my daughter, my career, my home, my money, and has had a huge impact on my mental health."

He said his partner Jessica had given birth just weeks before the attack and they only moved into the home days before. "I was physically incapacitated", he said. "I was not able to walk or shower unaided and it fell on Jessica to dress my wounds. She also had to look after our new baby which was challenging in itself.

"After six months I was able to walk and by this point all of the stress and responsibility caused Jessica to fall apart, which I totally understand."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Lauren Hebditch, defending Rocha, said she is the primary carer to her two teenage children and that at the time her husband was in Italy in search of work.

Ms Hebditch said: "[On the night of the offence] she had done eight jobs that day, she was tired, it was a dark, cold day."

Ms Hebditch said Mr Jenkinson is a '6ft, muscular man' and Rocha didn't know he was her customer. She said Rocha was 'trying to protect herself' when a scuffle broke out. "She accepts biting down so hard was excessive", Ms Hebditch said.

Judge Timothy Mousley KC said: "What is clear in this case is the thumb going into your mouth was completely accidental and [Mr Jenkinson] had no intention to do that.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"But you, of course, would not have known and you had been pushed and finding a thumb in your mouth, I'm satisfied you didn't know how things would develop. This was a grave injury, and it resulted in a permanent, irreversible injury."

Judge Mousley KC said there was 'considerable mitigation in your case' and found Rocha does not pose a risk to the public. He sentenced her to 16 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and ordered her to carry out 25 rehab days. He did not order Rocha to pay compensation, however suggested Mr Jenkinson could pursue that through civil courts.

A Deliveroo spokesperson said: “This was an awful incident. We ended the account of the rider concerned immediately and have fully cooperated with the police on the investigation.”

Related topics: