Tyne & Wear

Man admits Boldon pub attack which left Claire Hilton paralysed

A man has admitted taking part in an attack which left a South Tyneside woman paralysed.

Claire Hilton, 28, suffered a broken neck and back after being punched on a night out in Boldon in June.

Christopher Towers, 24, was bailed after admitting at Newcastle Crown Court to grievous bodily harm and will be sentenced on 6 January.

Miss Hilton, sitting in a wheelchair, reacted with fury when it emerged he would be out until the New Year.

Sitting by the public gallery, she shouted: "It's not fair, he gets Christmas out. He's ruined my life.

"Look what you've done to me. You have ruined my life, you have."

Spilt drink

She broke down in tears and was comforted by her family.

The mother-of-one was attacked near the Wheatsheaf pub following a row inside over a spilt drink.

The court heard the former telesales worker needed a month in intensive care then treatment in a specialist spinal unit after the attack.

Towers was charged with grievous bodily harm with intent - a charge which carries a maximum life sentence - but he denied it and his guilty plea to the lesser charge was accepted by the prosecution.

He also admitted causing actual bodily harm to a bystander Hugh Anderson, who had come to Ms Hilton's aid.

Kelly McKone, 30, of Stanhope Road, Jarrow, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to common assault on Ms Hilton prior to Towers' more serious attack.

Towers' mother Lynn Flaherty, 46, of New Road, Boldon, admitted assaulting another woman on the same night.

Judge Esmond Faulks adjourned the case for pre-sentence reports to be prepared.

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