Court told how tragic mum lashed out after hearing hurtful rumours

A mum of two, who cannot look after her children because of an hereditary disease, lashed out at another woman in the street
A mum of two, who cannot look after her children because of an hereditary disease, lashed out at another woman in the street
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A tragic mum-of-two, robbed of looking after her children by a cruel disease, attacked a woman after  " bad mother rumours," a court was told.

Kelly Louise Wilkins confronted Sarah Auty in the street, shouted at her, 'Say it to my face,' thumped her in the left eye and threatened to kill her.

She later told police she wasn't sorry for what she had done. The pair had at one time lived at the same housing association project on Elizabeth Street, Burnley, the town's magistrates heard.

The hearing was told how Wilkins, who is 26, has the hereditary disease Huntington's Chorea - which causes the death of brain cells - and which means she can't look after her children.

Her father can't move and is on life support at the age of just 52 and Wilkins knows a similar fate awaits her. The condition causes her to have impulses she can't control.

Wilkins, who consumes between 3,000 and 5,000 calories a day because of the disease, also pinched sweets, crisps and an energy drink worth £7 from Poundworld. She has racked up huge debts due to impulsive spending sprees.

The defendant, who was accompanied to court by her carer from Calico Housing Association, still lives at Elizabeth Street, but is set to move to another project with more support as her health deteriorates.

Prosecutor Tracy Yates told the court Miss Auty was shopping and was in the market square in Burnley when she was approached by Wilkins, who was screaming and shouting at her. The defendant grabbed her and punched her in the face. She was continuing to shout at her.

Mrs Yates said the victim told police two women come towards her and one told Wilkins to move and leave her alone. The other took hold of her and pulled her away.

Wilkins shouted: "Yeah, you better get her away, I'm going to kill her."

The prosecutor continued: "She says she was upset, scared and shook up.

"In interview, the defendant said she and the victim used to live together at Elizabeth Street.

"The defendant has two children who are not with her as she is unable to look after them because she has Huntington's Disease.

"She heard rumours that Miss Auty was saying she had lost her children because she was a bad mother. "

The prosecutor added:"She says having Huntingtons DIsease can cause her to become angry, although she is not sorry for what she's done."

Mrs Yates told the court the items taken from Poundworld were recovered. She added:" In interview, she said it was her intention to steal and to eat them. "

The defendant had no previous convictions.

Stuart Kaufman, defending Wilkins, said Huntingtons Disease was genetic and her father was currently on life support. He told the court:"One of the characteristics is extreme impulsiveness."

The solicitor said Miss Auty had left the housing project some time before, but Wilkins may have been dwelling on rumours she heard the woman had allegedly been spreading, that her children had been taken off her because of mistreatment.

He went on :" That's not the case. Its because she wasn't able, because of her condition, to look after them.

"That's why she said 'say it to my face' "

Mr Kaufman said that impulsiveness also related to the shoplifting offence. Wilkins now had lots of involuntary movements.

He said:" It's a process of deterioration in the brain. She consumes between 3,000 and 5,000 calories a day.

"That is caused by that involuntary movement.

"Her father can't move. That is what is going to happen to her and she knows that.

"It's a tragic, deteriorating condition."

Mr Kaufman added Wilkins had a lot of debt from over- spending impulsively. She had to cope with her own finances but was going to be rehoused in a project with more support.

Wilkins admitted assault by beating on Wednesday, December 13th and theft on Saturday, January 6th.

She was conditionally discharged for six months and must pay the victim £50 compensation.