Published: 14:00, 04 April 2014
A Hythe woman who bit off part of the finger of a rival in a nightclub brawl has been acquitted of all assault charges.
Dionne Butterworth had admitted biting the finger on New Year's Eve - but said she had been acting in self defence.
And after retiring for nearly seven hours, a jury returned verdicts of not guilty of her causing grievous bodily harm with intent or inflicting GBH.
Ms Butterworth, 19, of St Nicholas Terrace, Hythe had claimed she had been attacked by 23-year-old Letitia Chapman.
After the verdicts, she burst into tears and hugged family and friends who had attended the trial at Canterbury Crown Court.
She had told the jury how she had been surrounded by a lot of people in the Onyx nightclub after drinking vodkas and sambucas.
Ms Butterworth admitted she was a binge drinker and could not remember how much alcohol she had taken prior to the incident.
"I can't have too many people in my space. It makes me space out. I did what I did because I couldn't get away from her attacking me..." - Dionne Butterworth
"I can't have too many people in my space," she said. "It makes me space out. I did what I did because I couldn't get away from her attacking me. I think what I did was necessary.
"I didn't do it on purpose. My hair was being dragged back and I was being punched everywhere. I was just defending myself."
She claimed Ms Chapman put her hand over her face and used a finger as a fishhook in her mouth.
"My mind went blank and I just didn't think," she added.
Prosecutor John Fitzgerald had alleged that the incident in 2012, happened after Ms Chapman had gone out to celebrate with her mates, "no doubt having on her gladrags on and after having consumed a few drinks", he added.
The prosecutor claimed the two had consumed alcohol and an argument broke out, which turned into a fight.
"And by the time the two had been prized apart, Ms Chapman was missing the end of one of her finger. It had been bitten off by the defendant," he said.
Ms Chapman told the jury there had been "bad turf" between the two groups and, after being confronted by Ms Butterworth, she had lashed out "because I was worried about getting jumped".
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