A pub’s CCTV footage shows the moment two mothers glass each other with bottles in a ‘horrifying’ fight that left them both scarred.
Claire Byrne, 35, and Paula Breen, 40, were both hospitalised as a result of the vicious fight at The Clock pub in Kirkdale, Liverpool at around 10:30pm on January 10 2020.
They appeared in the dock at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday, with visible facial scars as a reminder of the drunken violence, where Breen was jailed for ten months and Byrne for 12 months.
Judge Gary Woodhall said their use of glasses and bottles as weapons was so ‘incredibly serious’ that both deserved to go to jail.
Judge Woodhall said: ‘Other customers describe being shocked by the violence you both engaged in and feared for their safety.
‘The CCTV footage speaks for itself. Anybody watching that CCTV footage would be horrified by the violence you both engaged in.’
At the start of the clip, Breen can be seen sitting at a table with friends in the pub in Walton Road.
Byrne is shown to take a stool from that table, then sit back down at a different table, with another group, prompting Breen to stand up.
The moment of the attack at The Clock pub in Kirkdale, Liverpool at around 10:30pm on January 10 2020.
Byrne picks up a wine bottle and repeatedly strikes Breen (pictured) in the head with it
Breen can be seen to shout something, then walk over to speak to Byrne, who just seconds later picks up a wine bottle and repeatedly strikes her in the head with it, as all hell breaks loose.
Christopher Hopkins, prosecuting, said other people intervened to restrain Byrne, before Breen fell to the floor, with ‘bumps’ to the head as a result of the initial unprovoked assault.
The video shows the mum-of-one get back to her feet and take a glass from a shelf, which she then throws at Byrne who is stood in a crowd of people, in what Breen described as ‘retaliation’.
The glass can be seen to fly through the air and hit mum-of-three Byrne in the centre of her forehead, when it smashed and inflicted a ‘two to three inch long laceration’.
More people intervened and Breen was persuaded to leave the pub.
Paula Breen, 40, (left) of Anfield, and Claire Byrne, 35, (right) of Kirkdale, who both admitted affray against each other
A second CCTV clip showed her standing outside, before Byrne emerged and picked up a glass that was lying on the pavement.
Mr Hopkins said Byrne went after and attacked Breen with this glass off camera.
The court heard it was disputed whether Byrne broke the glass before thrusting it into Breen’s face – as per Breen’s account – but Judge
Woodhall said he would sentence Byrne on the basis the glass smashed on impact.
Dazed and confused, Breen then went back inside, slipped and fell to the floor.
The clip resumes as she re-enters the pub and falls over, before Byrne appears, holding another wine bottle.
She is then shown attacking Breen with it as she is lying defenceless on the floor.
Breen, who was left with a wound to the side of her chin and cuts to her arms, told officers ‘I retaliated’ when arrested.
The Clock pub in Walton Road, Kirkdale, Liverpool where the fight took place at around 10:30pn on January 10 2020
Mr Hopkins said both women made admissions in police interviews and pleaded guilty to affray.
Byrne, of St Alexander Close, Kirkdale, had a previous conviction for threatening behaviour in 2006 and a caution for common assault in January 2012.
Peter White, defending Byrne, accepted it was an ‘exceptionally serious offence’, adding: ‘The CCTV does her no favours.’
He said Byrne claimed she hadn’t been drunk, but was on medication for mental health issues and knew she shouldn’t have been drinking.
Mr White said: ‘She had recently gone through the breakdown of her marriage of 16 years at the time of that offence.’
The lawyer said his client accepted she had been ‘using alcohol as a crutch’ but in the 12 months since ‘hasn’t touched a drop’.
Mr White said Byrne cared for a 16-year-old son with ‘difficulties’, and another child, aged seven, with less serious difficulties.
He said Byrne had another child, aged 11, who lives with her ex-partner and whom she sees on a regular basis, and lived opposite her mum, in her 60s, who has emphysema and relies on her for daily needs.
Mr White asked the judge to bear in mind her caring responsibilities, stating: ‘She is utterly ashamed of her behaviour on that night.’
Rebecca Smith, defending Breen, of Craine Close, Anfield, who had no previous convictions, said there was a distinction to be drawn between her client and Byrne.
She said: ‘Whatever words were exchanged between Miss Breen and Miss Byrne, it was an unprovoked attack to start with.’
Ms Smith said Breen was ‘dazed’ when she fell, and after throwing a glass in ‘retaliation’, tried to remove herself from the situation.
She conceded both women’s behaviour was ‘unsavoury and to some level despicable’.
Ms Smith added that Breen suffered from PTSD as a result of what she witnessed when her husband died in 2018, which had also affected her son, aged 22.
Judge Woodhall said when Breen first approached Byrne, it seemed ‘for no apparent reason’ Byrne’s ‘almost immediate response’ was to attack her with the bottle.
He said Breen caused a ‘significant injury’ by throwing a glass at Byrne, who in turn ‘didn’t give up’ and pursued her outside.
The judge said Byrne ‘initiated the violence’ in a ‘sustained and unprovoked assault’ and her violence was greater than Breen’s.
Judge Woodhall also noted she had a record involving violence and the ‘ease and speed’ with which she resorted to using it.
However, he said while Byrne carried out three attacks, Breen’s hurling of the glass into a crowd was the most serious violence.
Judge Woodhall said: ‘It was by luck rather than by design that no one else was injured. It so easily could have resulted in someone being blinded by a shard of glass breaking in your co-accused’s face.’
The judge accepted Breen played a less serious role than Byrne, was of previous good character, remorseful, had worked in a nursing home and was a victim of recent domestic violence.
He noted Byrne had been ‘disinhibited’ by alcohol and was the sole carer for two children, who would be significantly impacted if she was jailed.
However, he said despite them both having ‘powerful’ mitigation, the use of violence involving weapons was ‘incredibly serious’.
Judge Woodhall jailed Breen for 10 months, who burst into tears, and Byrne for 12 months, who showed no emotion.
Byrne then took the arm of Breen and consoled her, saying ‘you alright girl?’.