An accounts manager who left a student fighting for her life after smashing a wine glass into her neck walked free after a judge described her as a ‘decent young woman’.
Pretty blonde Claire Stephens, 23, attacked Rachel Spikula after the pair knocked into each other on the dance floor at Club 49 in London’s West End.
The American national was rushed to hospital in a passing ambulance after suffering a severed artery in the assault in the early hours of June 11, 2011.
Glass attack: Claire Stephens, 23, left Rachel Spikula with a severed artery in her neck after glassing her in a nightclub London's West End
Trendy: Club 49 in Soho, a popular nightspot in the West End of London, where the attack took place
Prosecutor Gavin Ludlow-Thompson said the victim would have been in serious danger had she not been treated so quickly.
‘Suggestions have been made that if the ambulance had not been there and the immediate treatment not been available this victim might very well have lost her life,’ he said.
But Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith spared Stephens from a jail term after hearing she was a ‘decent, hardworking, young woman.’
Handing her a ten-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, he said: ‘Nothing suggests that you have ever been violent before - indeed it would appear to be the very opposite, this was completely out of character.
‘But, that night you completely changed another young woman’s life. The injury you caused her will have a long lasting effect.
‘It has already gravely changed her life and had a terrible effect on her family, and no sentence I pass can change that.’
Stephens, an accounts manager for a property and planning firm, had been out with friends at Club 49 in Greek Street, Soho, when she and Miss Spikula clashed after colliding on the dance floor.
While trying to shove Miss Spikula away, Stephens pushed the glass into the victim’s neck, cutting her with a jagged edge.
Mr Ludlow-Thompson said she was rushed to hospital and discharged after 18 hours, before being readmitted after her condition worsened weeks later.
Sentence: Stephens was given a three-month curfew, told to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work, and ordered to pay £9,100 in compensation
Tests revealed the wound had caused ‘blood pressure problems’ and doctors were forced to operate to block off the artery.
‘She now has three arteries feeding the brain rather than four,’ said the prosecutor, ‘which has been for her, as far as she is concerned, a totally life-changing experience.
‘She suffers from significant loss of concentration and she will have to have continual treatment and angiograms every year.’
Following the attack Stephens left the club before confessing to a friend’s father, who told her to hand herself in to the police.
Gary Pons, defending, said the episode had had a ‘traumatic effect’ on his client.
He said: ‘She is now extremely quiet and withdrawn and practically never goes out, when she does she does not drink and she is often tearful.’
Stephens, of, Harlow, Essex, admitted unlawful wounding.
She was made the subject of a three-month curfew between 9pm and 6am, told to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work, and ordered to pay £9,100 in compensation as well as £500 towards the prosecution costs.
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