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Home Ashford News Article
An Ashford woman has told how she was pushed down stairs by her best friend - who then cradled her bleeding head in his lap.
Night porter Sophia Perkin-Chaplin said the pair had fallen out just minutes after she had a trans-Atlantic telephone row with her boyfriend in Chicago.
The furious victim then became involved in a spat with her close friend Sonny Kingwell, who was a £10-a-week lodger at her mother's home where she also lived.
But a jury heard that row led to Kingwell throwing a beer glass, grabbing her around the throat and pushing her downstairs.
As police and paramedics rushed to the house, the warehouseman held his victim's head and stroked her hair.
Ms Perkin-Chaplin wept as she told the jury he had been her "best friend", adding: "We were so close. I definitely miss that friendship."
Kingwell, 25, of Kipling Road, Ashford was acquitted of wounding his friend intending to cause her grievous bodily harm.
He had earlier admitted the lesser charge of unlawful wounding and will be sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court in March after the preparation of a probation report.
Judge Simon James told him it would be a custodial sentence, adding: "The only issue is whether it can be suspended or not."
Ms Perkin-Chaplin had told how in May she had not realised Kingwell had stayed the night because she had been told he was sleeping at his mother's home.
She said the pair had enjoyed a platonic relationship - although there had been "a few bickers" because he came home late.
As she walked down the stairs, she heard her friend shout a four-letter profanity from his bedroom and returned to remonstrate.
"He looked really strange and had red eyes. He then turned me round by my shoulders and with quite a force pushed me backwards down the stairs..." - Sophia Perkin-Chaplin
"I didn't like that so I went up to his room and opened his door. We then had an argument and I slammed the door and went back down again.
"I heard a noise behind me and then felt a knock on my head. It really hurt. I then saw a pint glass hit the floor still intact. That came from Sonny."
Ms Perkin-Chaplin said she stormed back up the stairs and ordered Kingwell out of the house - but was grabbed around the throat by the lodger.
She added: "He had both his hands around my neck and pushed me against the wall of the landing. He held his hands quite hard around my throat and I could feel the squeeze.
"He looked really strange and had red eyes. He then turned me round by my shoulders and with quite a force pushed me backwards down the stairs."
She said the push was so hard she only touched the second to last step before careering into a bookcase hurting her arm, back and head.
"I was in a hell of a lot of pain," she added. "I didn't know if I had broken my back I was in so much pain. I was just screaming."
The jury heard Ms Perkin-Chaplin shouted for an ambulance, but was too hysterical to give details to the emergency operator.
It was then that Kingwell ordered medical help after seeing blood coming from a head wound.
Ms Perkin-Chaplin then broke down in the witness box when she was asked what Kingwell did next.
She sobbed: "He held my head in his lap and stroked my hair. He told me everything was going to be alright and he kept apologising."
As police arrived, Kingwell went into the toilet and vomited, the jury heard.
The victim was later treated for a cut to the head and bruising to her arm and back.
Kingwell told the jury he was angry about being confronted by his friend, but had thrown the beer glass down the stairs "not intending for it to hit" Ms Perkin-Chaplin.
"I just thought it would smash against the wall, he said. "I did not intend to cause her any serious harm. When she came back into my bedroom she was furious.
"I began shouting at her and I admit I then put my hands around her throat and pushed her back against the wall and out of the room.
"I just wanted to get out of the house."
He was remanded on bail until the next hearing.
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