Sisters sentenced for attack on vulnerable man

By Connie Osborne Wednesday 21 November 2012 Updated: 23/11 10:46

A MAN who suffers from cerebral palsy and learning difficulties was punched six times, cut with a pair of scissors and had a blade held to his throat, a court heard.

Sisters Emma Cooke, 30 of Cedar View and Natalie Cooke, 32 and of Ash Tree Road, attacked the 33-year-old victim who was described as 'vulnerable'.

During a hearing at Worcester Crown Court on Monday (November 19) Emma was sentenced to 18 months in prison with another three months for breaching a previous sentence given to her at Birmingham Crown Court. Natalie was given a 12 month community order with a 12 month supervision order to include completion of an alcohol rehabilitation course.

Both women pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm at an earlier hearing in October.

Judge Patrick Thomas QC said: "It was awful bullying of a very vulnerable man. Troubles cannot begin to excuse this act."

The victim was invited by Natalie, who he had known for many years and believed to be his friend, to her sister’s home in Batchley for drinks on the evening of July 14 this year.

But the duo soon began to take advantage of his drunken state, encouraging him to remove his clothes and dance.

He was made to drink a mixture of urine and cider, and the sisters used a disposable razor to shave off some of his hair and his left eyebrow as he drifted in and out of sleep.

Emma then punched him six times and used a pair of scissors to cut his body, arms and legs, before holding the blade of the pair of scissors to his throat.

She called the police at 4.30am on July 15 and asked officers to remove a drunken man from her home. On arrival police found the victim lying in a foetal position on the sofa, shivering and crying with visible marks on his body. He was then taken to hospital.

Prosecutor Alex Warren said Emma was responsible for the violence but Natalie did not stop it or take any action.

Sophie Lomas, defending, said Emma had fully accepted what she had done.

"Miss Cooke fully recognises it is a very serious offence. There was a guilty plea at the first chance asked which we give her credit for. She does have a troubled history. She is allowing intervention for help."

Speaking after the hearing Det Con Jo Hembry said: "This was a vicious and unprovoked attack on a vulnerable man.

"The sisters put him through a terrible ordeal which has left him scarred and feeling nervous around people.

"This assault has caused immense distress to the victim and we hope these sentences send a clear message that such offences will not be tolerated."

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