Carol Lea arriving at Liverpool Magistrates Court yesterday afternoon. She pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon in a public place and threatening behaviour
A woman spared jail after fighting with a hammer in a KFC car park claimed justice had not been done because she was a victim of homophobic abuse.
Carol Lea, 56, was seen in the video threatening a young woman with a hammer at Stonedale Retail Park in Croxteth on May 8.
The footage shows Lea opening her car boot to get the weapon, then grab the victim in a headlock.
Lea, from St Helens, appeared at Liverpool Magistrates Court yesterday and has pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon in a public place and threatening behaviour.
Mr David Achilles, defending Lea, said the video, which made headlines worldwide was just one half of the story.
He told the court his client was subject to homophobic abuse after the altercation began because a couple parked over two disabled spots despite not being blue badge holders.
Mr Achilles also told the court Lea did go to the boot of her car and produced a hammer but was then disarmed by her wife.
He said: ‘The video captured only one half of the incident.
‘Carol Lea suspected something was going to happen and started recording from the start.
‘I think we can all agree that there is nothing more annoying than someone parked in a disabled bay when they shouldn’t be.
‘We can all feel an immense amount of anger.
‘The gentleman was parked across two bays and Mrs Lea and her wife Linda Lea politely asked them to move so that they had access to their vehicle.
‘They received a barrage of abuse and CCTV on Carol’s phone shows they were assaulted, which the Facebook viral video does not.
‘Linda put the hammer back into the boot.
‘During the video you can hear homophobic abuse and the video also shows Carol recovering her hair band and phone from the other couples car when she got in with them.’
The court heard the victims, Keiron Morgan and Paige Misund, did not make a statement or complaint against Lea.
The 56-year-old was slapped with a £205 fine, £85 court costs and a £30 victim surcharge after Magistrate Mr Roberts heard how the events unfolded.
Sentencing, Magistrate Mr Roberts said: ‘Looking at the surrounding circumstances we will give a £120 fine which has been reduced from £180 for the possession of the hammer, £85 court costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
‘I will also fine £85 for threatening behaviour. I believe the fact that Mrs Lea has no previous convictions is reflected in this level of sentence.’
Lea will pay the fine at a rate of £5 per week taken out of her benefits.
Outside the court after the sentencing, she said: ‘Justice was not done.
‘Obviously I am grateful to the court, but this was a homophobic attack.
‘If they had looked at my video they would have seen that.’