A judge told two women they had been “watching too many soap operas” as he sentenced them for an altercation involving a sledgehammer.  

Judge Michael Gledhill said the actions of Claire Baker, 44, and Chloe Cotton, 25, more than three years ago in Bicester were “unbelievable” given their age.

In the early hours of August 2, 2020, Baker and Cotton arrived at a flat belonging to victim Kimberley Gormley in Hart Place in a 4x4 vehicle with a sledgehammer in the boot.

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Baker’s 14-year-old daughter was also in the back seat.

Prosecutor Tim Naik told Oxford Crown Court yesterday (Thursday, November 2): “They initially went towards the property having parked the car but shortly afterwards Baker was seen to take a large sledgehammer out of the car and walk towards the flat.

“The occupant of the flat came out and there was some form of altercation.

“Baker is seen to raise the sledgehammer over her head in a threatening way in the very corner of some CCTV.

“Footage shows shortly afterwards that the sledgehammer is put back in the boot of the car.”

The pair then returned to the property without the heavy weapon where they were met by victim Ms Gormley, with an altercation breaking out, the court was told.

“She (Ms Gormley) was repeatedly clubbed with hands or fists,” said Mr Naik.

When police officers arrived, they found Ms Gormley bleeding from the nose with a 3mm laceration to her forehead and bruises.

Lyall Thompson, defending Baker, said she had visited the flat after receiving a call from Peter Brown, a man staying at the flat who she had a pre-existing relationship with.

He said: “Her intention was to help Mr Brown who was a vulnerable adult and was in a house where he was in some danger.

“They wanted to extract him from that house. That is the reason why the sledgehammer was taken.

“She shouldn’t have taken a sledgehammer. That was stupid of her. But she was concerned about the occupant of the house and fearful for her safety in going to that property.”

Judge Gledhill said he found that “very hard to swallow.”

Baker, of Mathews Way in Oxford, pled guilty to causing actual bodily harm and possession of an offensive weapon at the court in September.

Cotton, of no fixed address, also admitted to causing actual bodily harm.

Sentencing both the women to a two year community order, Judge Gledhill said: “It seems to me that the two of you have been watching far too many soap operas on TV.

“Behaviour like this should be confined to the TV and not to people’s lives…

“It was completely ridiculous and could have led to untold damage being inflicted to Kimberley Gormley.”