Preston cat row leads to a new mum being attacked while holding her baby

Crown Court
Crown Court

A new mum was kicked and punched in a vicious row over a pet cat - while her baby boy was in her arms.

Samantha Hambleton, 33, of Nelson Crescent, Lea, Preston, admits assaulting army medic Lynda Waddell at a house in Fulwood last June, but also suffered injuries during the incident, Preston Crown Court heard.

Prosecuting, Craig Macgregor said: " There is some history to this case in that the complainant and defendant were friends prior to the incident – such that in May 2018 Samantha Hambleton's cat, Grey, was lodging with Miss Waddell.

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" On June 4, at about 7.45pm was at home in the front room feeding her then seven month old son whilst watching TV.

"As she was feeding him it was drawn to her attention that the defendant had let herself in through the unlocked kitchen door.

"There was some shouting. She called Miss Waddell a f***ing psycho and that she'd been reported for theft.

"The cat was picked up by the scruff of the neck.

" Samantha Hambleton kicked and punched Miss Waddell who tried to protect herself, and the baby was in her arms at the time.

"Miss Waddell tried to get out of the front door and eventually did so.

"The door was pushed open into her back and Ms Hambleton then repeatedly punched Miss Waddell to the back of the head, back and upper body.

"Miss Hambleton then left with the cat."

The court heard the police arrived at the scene and spoke to Hambleton in a car outside.

Defending, Andrea Lock, said: "Miss Hambleton is of unblemished character. This matter has been hanging over her for over a year. It's an unhappy situation for all concerned.

"Counter claims were made.

"This was a very unfortunate incident regarding the retrieval of a cat which has turned into an unsavoury altercation, but over 12 months have gone by."

Judge Heather Lloyd, sentencing, said: "You and Miss Waddell were once friends and there clearly was an incident at her house between you, and it was an argument which effectively got out of hand.

"I don't diminish how upsetting it was for either of you - you both sustained minor injuries. But the reality is you went to her house.

"It appears since this unsettling incident, apart from one episode when you happened to be in the same Sainsburys, there have been no further incidents.

"There is no reason to suppose it will ever happen again.

She imposed a 12 month bind over order in the sum of £250 for Hambleton to keep the peace.

Lynda told the Post she knew nobody when she was posted to Fulwood Barracks, and had met Hambleton through a mutual friend when she was pregnant with her son.

She had two Siberian kittens and the defendant took an interest and ended up getting one for herself for £350 from the same litter.

At that time Hambleton was going through a break-up with her partner, and Lynda says she asked her to look after the cat because her new landlord wouldn't allow pets.

Lynda agreed, so long as the cat got on with hers, which it did.

Grey was there for five weeks.

Recalling the assault the mum said: "I was covering his body with mine.

"The baby was screaming and then all of a sudden went very quiet."

Lynda, who has been in the army for 16 years, says she has been diagnosed with PTSD because of the incident.

She added: "It's had and is continuing to have, a massive impact on my life".