Woman severed Leeds nightclubber’s eyelid in sickening and ‘cowardly’ dancefloor attack

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A woman almost severed another’s eyelid in a sickening attack in a Leeds club, leaving her scarred for life.

The victim has undergone three operations in 12 months, has lost her tear duct and still can’t close the eye after being punched by Toni Hughes in Mint Warehouse in Holbeck. It is thought Hughes was wearing a ring on her finger that sliced through the eyelid and left it “hanging off”, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Hughes, a 37-year-old mother with a history of violence, continued to maintain it was self defence but later admitted a charge of Section 20 GBH.

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However, the judge said she continued to minimise her involvement and showed little regard to the victim. She was jailed for 20 months.

Hughes punched the woman and then dragged her to the floor in Mint Warehouse.Hughes punched the woman and then dragged her to the floor in Mint Warehouse.
Hughes punched the woman and then dragged her to the floor in Mint Warehouse.

Prosecutor Carmel Pearson said Hughes had been in the Water Lane venue in the early hours of July 3 last year and did not know the victim.

Both had been drinking when words were exchanged as they danced. Although CCTV showed it appeared amicable at first, it became heated and their respective friends separated the pair.

After the confrontation appeared to have been defused, Hughes was then seen dancing back towards the unsuspecting woman before throwing a punch at her while she was not looking. She then grabbed her hair and dragged her to the floor.

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It took four people to eventually get Hughes off the stricken woman. She was detained by staff but fled before the police arrived. Officers later recognised Hughes from the club’s CCTV.

Hughes, of Kingswood Drive, Havercroft, Wakefield, has 34 previous convictions for 61 offences, including an assault in 2009 for which she was jailed for 18 months. She was convicted of affray in 2018 and received a suspended sentence, and just three months before club attack, was given a suspended sentence for two assaults. Her latest offence put her in breach of that sentence.

Mitigating, Andrew Stranex said that it was a “spontaneous” attack from Hughes and was “short-lived”. He added that she had a “very difficult time of it” in life and that she “expressed genuine remorse.”

Judge Robin Mairs pointed out that the probation report into Hughes found elements of “victim blaming and minimisation”, and said she was more sorry for herself than the victim. He said: “Her apology is tempered by her own imposition.”

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Jailing her, Judge Mairs told her: “What was clear is that you did not know each other and there was no previous animosity. You had an opportunity to leave it and for it to go no further.

"She (the victim) turned and walked away from you. You then blindsided her and launched an assault. You claimed it was her fault, but she presented no threat to you, she was walking away and was not goading you.

"You made the decision to attack her. It was a cowardly and unprovoked attack. This was not excessive self defence, it was far from it. It took four people to separate you, so intent were you.

"Because of the ring you were wearing, it effectively severed her eyelid. Her eye will never be the same again.”

He told Hughes that due to her previous record, immediate custody was the only solution.