Reveller bites two women at Portsmouth pub while celebrating 30th birthday with her mum

A WOMAN celebrating her 30th birthday exploded in rage at a pub where she bit the landlady and a second woman who tried to intervene in a ‘chaotic’ melee.

Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 10:35 am

Out-of-it Charlene James threw punches at detention officers and kicked a custody sergeant after she was finally arrested at the Blue Anchor in London Road.

Unemployed James sank her teeth into the front of landlady Leanne Strong’s shoulder through her jumper in the North End pub while out celebrating with her mother and girlfriend.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard she had taken a ‘cocktail of intoxication’ of vodka, cider, lager, and amphetamine - all on top of prescription medication.

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Charlene James, 30, of Nightingale Avenue, Eastleigh, appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court after she bit two women at the Blue Anchor pub in Portsmouth while celebrating her 30th birthday on February 16 in 2019. Picture: (300120-5025)

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Ms Strong had asked James to leave the pub when the defendant became ‘aggressive’ over a ‘completely misjudged’ situation with someone in the pub and had to have her pint glass taken away.

At a special hearing in December, Ms Strong said: ‘She kept her bite clamped to my shoulder, as others pulled her away I could feel my skin stretching.

‘She then released the bite and pulled my hair hard.’

Charlene James, 30, of Nightingale Avenue, Eastleigh, appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court after she bit two women at the Blue Anchor pub in Portsmouth while celebrating her 30th birthday on February 16 in 2019. Picture: (300120-5084)

Judge Roger Hetherington said: ‘You viciously attacked her, you were abusive to her and then as you were being walked to the door you turned and lunged at her and bit her very hard on her left shoulder breast area through her clothing, and even through her clothing it left a nasty bite mark.’

Pub landlord Harley Nash, together with three other men, carried James out the pub and dropped her in the street where she was pinned to the railings.

‘The female was grabbing and lashing out at people,’ Ms Strong said. James ‘lunged towards me and grabbed my hand,’ she added.

Outside, pub customer Sheridan Bee was striking up a cigarette when she intervened, pushing people apart in the incident when James bit her left little finger.

Giving evidence, Ms Bee said: ‘It was very bad, it broke the skin straightaway and the pain was really bad. It wasn’t like a nip, it was a full on bite.’

The landlord was forced to try and prise James’ mouth open when she bit a screaming Ms Bee, a carer, in the melee outside - holding on for 10-15 seconds and leaving a scar.

Asked at the hearing she kept her mouth clamped down on Ms Bee’s finger, James said: ‘I suppose it’s the only defence I had. What else am I supposed to do?’

James admitted two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm but claimed ‘excessive self defence’ in biting Ms Bee. Her mother Fiona Kennedy gave evidence and said her daughter was being punched and held against railings.

‘I was scared,' James said and added: ‘At the end of the day there was loads of people on me all the time.’

But judge Hetherington said it ‘impossible’ for him to accept this version of events.

On Thursday the judge imposed a 16-month jail term suspended for two years with 20 days’ rehabilitation activities.

Judge Hetherington said the case was ‘very finely balanced’ between jailing her or suspending the term but said she would ‘have the benefit of any doubt in my mind,’ and added there was a ‘realistic prospect of rehabilitation’.

Probation said she posed a medium risk. The court heard she had sought professional help to rehabilitate.

James, of Nightingale Avenue, Eastleigh, suffers with borderline personality disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and had suffered in her childhood.

The judge said: ‘I accept that you have had a dreadful start in life.’

Her father would threaten her with jump leads and an acid bath as a child if she misbehaved, the court heard. Her childhood ‘had been a nightmare,’ her lawyer said.

William Goss, mitigating, added: ‘She had a stolen childhood and it’s silently acting as a toxin to her foundation as an adult and that’s why she committed these offences.’

Mr Goss said James was left with ‘severe anxiety in every second’ of her life. Judge Hetherington agreed with Mr Goss that she did not have the ‘necessary mental tools’ to react properly at the pub.

James, who has previous for assaulting a police officer in 2005 and battery in 2018, was told by the judge: ‘These were nasty biting offences which caused real pain to those that experienced them.’

She admitted two charges of assaulting emergency workers in the early hours of February 17.

James remembered little of the evening and had to watch CCTV before she admitted her crimes.