Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
Teenager weeps as she is jailed for taking revenge
10:00am Thursday 5th April 2012 in News
A TEENAGER who “took the law into her own hands” has been locked up for the little-known offence of taking revenge.
Chelsea French sobbed uncontrollably as her sentence was handed down at Oxford Crown Court on Monday.
The 19-year-old assaulted Gabrielle Haire on September 1 as part of an ongoing feud between two families lasting two years, the court heard.
The victim had earlier gone to the police after French’s sister’s partner, Jason McMurray, had smashed Miss Haire’s windows. He was subsequently convicted of causing criminal damage and ordered to pay a fine and costs.
French, of Howard Road, Banbury, was convicted by jurors of taking revenge at a trial last month.
Tony McGeorge, defending, said the assault was “a totally uncharacteristic incident which she very much regrets”.
He said the teenager had recently resigned from a job at a Frankie and Benny’s restaurant but had lined up an interview at another branch.
Taking revenge is a charge forming part of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and, like witness intimidation, relates to a person harming or intending to harm someone concerned in criminal proceedings.
McMurray was sentenced for criminal damage just hours before French assaulted Miss Haire.
Judge Anthony King jailed French for 56 days, telling her: “The partner of your sister had committed the offence of criminal damage by smashing the windows of the home where Gabrielle Haire was then living.
“She had had the courage to go to the police to report what had occurred and who had done it.
“It’s clear that you and others took offence at the fact that she had had the courage to deal with the matter in the proper and legal way.”
He added: “I know there has been an unhappy history between your family and Miss Haire and that’s why I suspect Mr McMurray was smashing the windows of the house where she lived, but this feud has got to end and it’s wholly and utterly unacceptable that you should be taking the law into your own hands and using physical violence.
“When you saw her on this particular occasion you decided to use physical violence towards her in revenge or retaliation.
“You deliberately went over to her and deliberately used violence, and more than one blow, causing her some injury and making it clear that you were promoting the problems that should have ended.
“This is not merely an offence of assault but was an act of revenge because she had dealt with the matter properly.”
French cried hysterically as she was led away.