Aspiring solicitor threw boiling water over university housemate then walked off to eat meal - Leeds Crown Court

An aspiring solicitor threw a pan of boiling water over her university housemate before calmly walking away with a plate of food, a court heard.

By Georgina Morris
Tuesday, 7th June 2022, 11:45 am

Emma Raymond went on to tell police officers it was "funny" that she had still managed to eat the broccoli which had been cooking in the pan and her actions had been "just the same as slapping someone on a night out".

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Leeds Crown Court heard the assault took place in February 2020 in the accommodation that the then 21-year-old shared with other students.

Emma Raymond carried out the attack on one of her housemates in a shared student accommodation in Leeds. Picture: James Hardisty

Prosecutor Ryan Donoghue said Raymond had moved into the accommodation in Leeds the previous September and initially got on well with the victim and others living there, but things appeared to have soured after a night out as Raymond felt the group were meddling in her relationship.

A witness described how Raymond would then try to annoy and upset the victim, who had approached the defendant about her behaviour a week before the assault.

On February 24, the defendant become annoyed as she wanted to dry some clothes but the victim was already doing so.

While the victim and another housemate ate dinner together, Raymond began intentionally knocking items onto the floor. She then repeatedly bumped into the victim for no reason as she tried to load the dishwasher.

As Raymond went to drain a pan of pasta, she aggressively told the victim to move aside and shook drops of water onto her head. The victim confronted her, saying "Are you kidding me?", but the defendant denied having done anything.

Moments later, Raymond picked up a pan that she had been using to cook broccoli and threw the boiling water onto the victim's body.

The victim screamed and immediately ran to her private shower in an attempt to soothe the burns as blisters began to form on her right shoulder, breast and foot.

Meanwhile, the partner of another housemate saw Raymond walk calmly from the kitchen to her bedroom carrying her plate of food.

When the defendant refused to open her bedroom door and speak to the victim, the police were called.

During her formal interview, Raymond accepted her relationship with the victim had deteriorated and she had lost her temper.

She denied throwing the water onto the victim though, claiming she threw it on the floor and it had splashed her.

Raymond, now 23, of St Leonards Close, Bushy, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty on the day of her trial to a single count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The court heard that while Raymond had gone on to achieve a first class degree, the victim had deferred her dissertation and graduation as she felt unable to return to university until the defendant had been banned from campus.

Summarising a statement from the victim, Mr Donoghue said she felt unsafe in Leeds for some time afterwards and had suffered panic attacks, anxiety and depression.

He said the victim had needed hospital treatment for the burns but there was no longer any scarring that was visible in everyday life.

A probation officer said Raymond presented a medium risk of offending and harm at present and needed to address the anger management issues for which she was now receiving counselling.

He added that having had two years to reflect, she seemed only to have thought about the impact on her own life.

Richard Orme, mitigating, said his client had graduated with a diploma in law with a view to becoming a solicitor but was sacked from her paralegal role with a firm in London as a result of the proceedings.

He said she was currently on Universal Credit but remained hopeful of pursuing a career in law, even though it may be "fraught with some difficulties" now.

Judge Mushtaq Khokar said Raymond was an intelligent person who had achieved a great deal, but he was disappointed that she had shown no empathy towards her victim.

He said that while the assault was spontaneous, boiling water was a dangerous weapon and the victim could have been scarred for life.

He sentenced Raymond to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 15 rehabilitation activity days and 300 hours of unpaid work.

She was not ordered to pay compensation due to a lack of funds and a prosecution application for a restraining order was refused, with the judge saying the defendant and the complainant were unlikely to cross paths.