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Pregnant 'debt-enforcer' jailed for attack

Scales of justice
Scales of justice

A heavily-pregnant woman was jailed for nine months today after she attacked a woman in her own home over an alleged debt.

A judge told Sally Taylor, who is due to give birth to her second child in seven weeks' time, he would be failing in his public duty if he did not send her to prison.

Maidstone Crown Court heard the 34-year-old, of Valley Drive, Gravesend, acted as a "debt-enforcer" when she went to the home of Joan Shillabeer in Northfleet in September last year.

The debt was alleged to have related to her son.

Taylor, who at the time was a drug addict, was one of several people who went to the address.

But the court heard that she herself was attacked with a golf club during the violence.

Taylor denied assault causing actual bodily harm but was convicted by a jury at a trial in July.

Passing sentence today Judge Andrew Patience QC said: "You went to the victim's home, taking people with you, to enforce a debt.

"Violence ensued and you cannot complain that the violence which your visit brought about resulted in you being hit yourself.

"Anyone whose home is invaded in that way is entitled to defend themselves within reason."

Judge Patience further remarked that Taylor still had not accepted responsibility for the assault on Mrs Shillabeer.

"This was enforcement of a debt and I am asked to take a course which would allow you your liberty.

"That would send out entirely the wrong message."

The court heard that Taylor has previous convictions for battery and common assault.

Andrew Forsyth, defending, said however that she is now drug-free and has a supportive partner.

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