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Teenager avoids jail despite attacks
A TEENAGER banned from shops in three towns has avoided jail despite being convicted of assaulting two women and a PCSO.
Victoria Pickford, 19, of Alexandra Road, Colchester, pleaded guilty to grabbing the hair of Caitlin Archer and the Shreya Tobias, before pushing back PCSO Hayley Howe’s arm.
She had previously been told to expect to be jailed for the offences and arrived at Colchester Magistrates’ Court with a packed suitcase and handbags.
Chair of the magistrates Jeffrey Hazelton, warned Pickford: “Don’t come back” as she was released from the dock with a suspended prison sentence.
The court heard Pickford and her sister Stephanie had been walking past McDonald’s in Colchester’s High Street on August 6 this year when trouble flared between another group of girls, which included Caitlin and Shreya.
Joseph Bird, prosecuting, said: “As that point, as a result of the argument, Miss Pickford grabbed Caitlin’s hair, tugging at it.
“The fight broke up.
“Miss Pickford and her sister go elsewhere in Colchester and the friends go to a restaurant.
“When they arrive at the restaurant in Sir Isaac’s Walk they notice the sisters are waiting for them and further argument ensues.
“Miss Pickford grabs Shreya’s hair and tugs at that and it causes her to fall to the floor.”
The second fight was broken up when the restaurant owner intervened.
The two sisters ran away but were chased by police before being caught in St John’s Walk.
Mr Bird said: “At that point the assault on the PCSO happens. She tried to stop Miss Pickford by raising her hand and saying ‘please stop, we need to talk to you’ and Miss Pickford grabs her hand forcing it backwards.”
Matthew Swash, mitigating, said Pickford had a tough childhood and as a result lived with her sister who has four youngsters of her own who she helps care for.
He added: “She knows what she did was wrong and these victims didn’t deserve what happened to them.”
As well as admitting the three assaults, Pickford admitted breaching a two-year anti-social behaviour order made last September.
It banned her from going to shops except supermarkets in Colchester, Witham and Braintree, due her prolific shoplifting.
Mr Hazelton warned Pickford she had crossed the custody threshold but was given a 12-week suspended sentence, for the assaults and breaching the asbo.
An £80 victim surcharge must also be paid.
The asbo is still in place.