Woman who assaulted pensioner at Wellesbourne market more cooperative after first taste of prison

Xena Randell
Xena Randell

After having her first taste of prison, a violent young woman who had assaulted a frail pensioner at Wellesbourne market, returned to court in a far less belligerent frame of mind.

From defiantly turning her back on a judge at Warwick Crown Court, it was a more subdued Xena Randell who stood in the dock after being remanded in custody for four days.

And her barrister Dean Easthope said: “She tells me she has not enjoyed the last four days, her first spell in custody, and she is keen to do anything she can to avoid another spell.”

So Judge Anthony Potter did what he had been planning to do before Randell’s stroppy display last week – and deferred sentence on her until November.

Randell, 19, of Burrowes Street, Walsall, who had a string of offences of violence, had pleaded guilty to assaulting 70-year-old Marion Ryan, who had called her a ‘selfish cow.’

Randell’s grandfather and her victim, who suffers from osteoporosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, belonged to a group which regularly organised coach trips.

In August last year Randell and her mother accompanied her grandfather on one such outing to Warwickshire, to visit Wellesbourne market and then Stratford-upon-Avon.

But at the market Randell went off shopping with her mother, leaving her grandfather and Miss Ryan together, and returned later than expected, said prosecutor Caroline Harris.

“The complainant called the defendant a ‘selfish cow’ for being away so long, and the defendant pushed her with some force.

“It caused her to fall to the ground, landing on her bottom and striking her head.”

A retired nurse went to her aid, and the trip continued with the pensioner in fear that Randell would approach her again.

Miss Ryan had sore ribs as a result of the push, and it later became apparent she had a fracture to her pelvis - but Miss Harris said it was ‘not possible to prove to the criminal standard’ that had been caused by Randell pushing her over.

After her arrest, Randell said she pushed the pensioner ‘because she was in my space,’ claiming she was not generally a violent person, ‘but will react violently when threatened.’

But the court heard she had no fewer than 13 convictions for 49 offences, mostly for violence, and was currently subject to a suspended sentence for assaulting a police officer.

Turaj Hodge, defending at the original hearing, said Randell spent nine years in care until she was 18, but was getting her relationship with her mother back on track, and was helping to care for her grandfather who has been given six months to live.

“She felt under threat from Miss Ryan who accepts she called her a selfish cow, and in response Miss Randell pushed her because of a perceived threat.”

Miss Hodge said there were concerns that if Randell faced a custodial sentence she would self-harm, adding: “She says she is more than willing to address her anger management issues, and she has shown remorse.”

Judge Potter said: “I’m not very attracted by suspending a sentence of imprisonment, because it seems she’s had plenty of opportunities in the past, but I am considering deferring sentence to see whether what she says she wants to do, she will do.”

But as he began setting out to Randell what he expected from her if he did defer sentencing, she turned her back on him.

And when she repeatedly refused to face him, he remanded her in custody, telling Miss Hodge: “She has to understand that whatever acts the juvenile court have taken, she’s in the crown court now, and the crown court will not be bullied.”

He had told Randell: “In my judgement you are a bully, and you have relied on other people’s concern as justification for your response to other people in an aggressive manner.

“I have no doubt that lady was smaller than you, and you intimidated her as much by your presence as by your actions.”

After she had had the Bank Holiday weekend to reflect on her petulant behaviour, Judge Potter told her: “I am prepared to give you a chance, because it seems to me that living at your mother’s address, and having had a taste of custody, you may be in a position to make something of your life.

"You can do something constructive, or you can continue to hit people, in which case you will see people like me on more and more occasions.”

He said he expected her to ‘make strenuous efforts to start a course at college,’ and to ‘knuckle down’ and apply herself to it; to continue living with her mother and helping to care for her grandfather; and to ‘make efforts to get a job.’

The judge told her: “If you comply with the requirements, I’ll impose a community order. You would do well to remember what the last few days have been like, because if you don’t comply, that’s where you’ll be spending your time.”