A DANGEROUS young mum who had never been in trouble before has started an eight-month jail term after committing two vicious assaults on a night out.
Katy Donnelly, 21, mother of a three-year-old son, who suffers from a medical condition which can infect others, was described in glowing character references to a judge as caring and sensible.
The judge said it was difficult to reconcile with the "monstrous, violent woman" captured on CCTV footage played to the court who inflicted "appalling and nasty" injuries.
Burnley Crown Court heard how the drunken defendant had been rolling around fighting with one victim, refusing to be split up, holding her hair and kicking out.
The second victim was deliberately targeted and followed by Donnelly after she had moved away to a telephone box to escape the trouble. She was struck, dragged by the hair and twisted and thrown around on the ground.
Donnelly's mother, who wrote one of the letters sent to Judge Beverley Lunt, could not understand her daughter's behaviour, the hearing was told.
Judge Lunt said the courts had to deter such street violence, whether it be at the hands of men or women.
She said Donnelly's behaviour had given her grave concern, adding that somebody with her medical condition was a danger if she involved herself in such a level of fighting due to the risk of transfer by blood and spitting.
The judge said the defendant had to go to jail but she was imposing the shortest sentence possible.
Judge Lunt continued: "Unlike you on that night, I bear in mind the needs of your young son."
The defendant, of Station Road, Huncoat, admitted common assault and assault causing actual bodily harm and had been committed for sentence by Hyndburn magistrates.
She had no previous convictions.
The court was told Donnelly struck on a night out in Accrington in February, when she was 20.
Meghann McTague, defending, told the hearing Donnelly had lost her temper after a culmination of incidents that night and her conduct was completely out of character.
The defendant, who had not committed any further offences, did not regularly go out drinking and behave in that manner.
Miss McTague said people in Donnelly's community were now aware of her very personal condition and that had been a very difficult part of her case to deal with.
She had already been punished in a sense by having the anxiety of the case hanging over her and her condition becoming public knowledge.
The barrister urged the court to make a community order or to pass a suspended sentence if the court decided only custody was appropriate.
Miss McTague continued: "An immediate sentence of custody would have a dramatic effect on the defendant and also affect those round her, although she is very realistic over what the court may do with her today."