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Drug addict who cut woman on the head in ‘excessive self-defence’ in Station Road, Maidstone jailed

An addict who struck a woman in the head with a knife and left her with “permanent scarring” in a row over drugs has been jailed.

Pearl Chapman left her victim Abigail Dearlove with a wound to her scalp and blood "coating" her face following the attack in Maidstone on October 13 last year.

Pearl Rebecca Chapman has been jailed over a wounding incident in Station Road, Maidstone
Pearl Rebecca Chapman has been jailed over a wounding incident in Station Road, Maidstone

Chapman, who has 35 previous convictions for 60 offences, had gone to a flat in Station Road, Maidstone, where she was said to have acted in "excessive self-defence" as a result of being threatened herself.

The 40-year-old, who tested positive for heroin following her arrest, later admitted wounding, and appeared at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday (May 9) for sentencing.

She had originally been charged with wounding with intent but the prosecution offered no evidence following her guilty plea to the lesser offence.

The court heard it was accepted by the Crown that Chapman had not taken the knife herself to the property but picked it up off the floor during a dispute with the victim.

However, it was said she had used the weapon more than once, causing minor wounds as well as the 5cm cut to the head which needed stitching and has left permanent scarring.

Chapman was jailed at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday May 9. Picture: Stock image
Chapman was jailed at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday May 9. Picture: Stock image

At the time of the attack, Chapman, of Snowdrop Close, Chelmsford, Essex, was subject to an eight-week suspended sentence for shoplifting, and had been previously jailed in February last year for possessing a knife.

Lucy Sweetman, defending, said her client resorted to using the blade on Ms Dearlove after being told she could not leave the flat as she owed a drug debt.

“It was a genuine threat and she was in fear from a threat of violence from the complainant," the barrister told the court.

“The knife was not introduced by Ms Chapman but it was something she was threatened with and when it became loose in a struggle, she picked it up and acted excessively.

“This was behaviour that was out of character. She was stopped immediately by police walking away from the scene.

“She was compliant and resigned to the fact she had done something serious and was in serious trouble. She has never denied causing the injuries.”

Ms Sweetman added that Chapman had now tackled her long-standing drug addiction while in custody on remand.

“None of this would have happened if it wasn't for her habit,” she said.

Despite her lengthy criminal record, none of Chapman's previous convictions were said to be violence-related or for drug-dealing.

…The consequences could have been devastating

Jailing her for 96 weeks, Recorder James Lofthouse said although the basis of plea was accepted by the prosecution, he had viewed it with "some scepticism" as it was "far removed" from the victim's account to police of what happened.

"I have seen the gory aftermath of blood coating the face of the victim and a nasty wound to the top of the scalp but thankfully above the hairline," he remarked, having seen photographs of the injuries.

"The use of a knife to the head was profoundly disproportionate and the consequences could have been devastating.

"Your long-standing drug addiction did form the context for this offence, and indeed Ms Dearlove's involvement in that world as well.

"You used a highly dangerous weapon to strike her to the head. It is pure good fortune you didn't cause a far more serious injury than you did."

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