Nursery nurse in 'feral attack' sent to custody

Burnley Crown Court
Burnley Crown Court
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A qualified nursery nurse involved in a “feral” Boxing Day gang attack on a man, stamping on him when he was unconscious, has now been locked up, after originally walking free from court.

Carrie Harwood (20), of Pine Street, Burnley, who has 14 GCSEs, had been spared jail at Burnley Crown Court last November, when she was sentenced.

But she has now been sent to a young offenders’ institution for a year, for flouting the suspended sentence she was given by not turning up to appointments with the probation service.

Judge Beverly Lunt, who had earlier given her the chance to avoid prison, said Harwood had failed to comply with the suspended sentence “from start to finish,” and activated the full term.

Harwood admitted failing to comply with the suspended sentence. The court had previously been told how innocent Ben Sharples (23) had been set upon by a gang in the early hours after he arrived at Rossendale Road Service Station, Burnley.

He was kicked, punched, dragged over the cab bonnet and ended up unconscious and defenceless on the ground.

Harwood, who had had a miscarriage just two days before, had spent Christmas Day in hospital and had never been in trouble before, ran up and stamped on him.

CCTV footage of the beatings had been shown to the court and Judge Lunt had told the hearing: “That’s just brutal.”

She said of Harwood: ”The stamping is what kills people. It was astonishing behaviour.”

Harwood was given 12 months in custody, suspended for a year, with the Lancashire Women’s Specified Activity Requirement. She had admitted assault causing actual bodily harm, committed on December 26th 2014.

At the latest hearing Miss Claire Larton (prosecuting for the probation service) said Harwood had not been keeping her appointments. Staff rang her up the day before and she assured them she would attend, but she failed to turn up. Miss Larton said: ”She has attended some appointments in January, however her attendance has been sporadic at best. She has not kept in contact as she should have done.”

Shirlie Duckworth (defending) said the defendant had “so much promise before the commission of this offence” and urged the judge to allow the order to continue.

The barrister said Harwood suffered from anxiety and depression and added: “She struggles to come to terms with what she did. She is still under the care of her GP. She is still struggling to sleep.”