May 25 2013 Latest news:
by Lee-Ann Richards
Sunday, July 1, 2012
»A mum-of-three has been cleared of assaulting four parents in a playground brawl in front of children.
Umma Lewis, 40, of Dudley Road, Harold Hill, was facing four charges of assault at Romford Magistrates’ Court on Friday of last week.
The student nurse had been accused of attacking Shelley Weeks, Zoe Hennessey, Marianne Smith and Samantha Hastings on March 6 at Wykeham Primary School in Hornchurch.
A row erupted when Mrs Lewis went over to talk to Mrs Hennessey after being told the night before that her son had been hit by the other woman’s daughter and was going to be beaten up the next day in school, the court heard.
Mrs Hennessey said that she had felt “intimidated and could only focus on her finger wagging”. She allegedly swore at Mrs Lewis before telling her to get out of her face.
The prosecution claimed that Mrs Lewis grabbed Mrs Hennessey by the throat and punched her.
Marianne Smith, who was standing with Mrs Hennessey, jumped into help but was punched in the face.
Mrs Hastings also tried to calm the situation down but was punched.
Mrs Weeks stepped in but she was punched and started hitting Mrs Lewis with her umbrella, the court heard.
But Colleen Gildernew, defending, said that Mrs Lewis was set upon by the four women and acted in self-defence.
Mrs Lewis said: “It all happened really quickly. I just went over to talk to her and she started hitting me.
“She punched me and I hit her back and the rest of the group just joined in.
“They all surrounded me and I was swinging my arms to try to protect myself.”
Teacher Anthony Sealey said: “I heard shouting and, when I turned around, I realised that there was an altercation going on with parents. I saw one lady was swinging her arms and the other one was hitting her with an umbrella.
“There were children in the playground just standing watching and they were my main concern.”
Mr Sealey said he tried to move Mrs Lewis away from the group but when his back was turned she went back.
The police were called and, after looking at CCTV images, Mrs Lewis was arrested.The footage was not clear enough to be used in court
Mrs Lewis told the court that the four women were part of a much larger team of parents who were known as the “circle group” and who were “just untouchable”.