Pop star hit toilet attendant, court hears

A singer with the pop group Girls Aloud gave a nightclub toilet attendant a black eye and called her a "fucking black bitch" in an argument over a handful of lollipops, a court heard yesterday.

Cheryl Tweedy, 20, screamed racist abuse before punching Sophie Amogbokpa, leaving her face with swelling and bruising that lasted for three months, the court was told.

A "completely paralytic" Ms Tweedy told Mrs Amogbokpa, 39, a part-time law student: "I'm going to deal with you" and had to be restrained by staff as she struggled, Kingston Crown Court heard.

The singer allegedly attacked Mrs Amogbokpa during a night out with a fellow band member Nicola Roberts at The Drink nightclub in Guildford, Surrey, on 11 January.

The row began when Ms Tweedy took sweets and lollies from a display in the club's ladies' lavatory without leaving the customary tip.

When Mrs Amogbokpa asked her for money, a heated argument broke out and Ms Roberts, who had been with her friend, ran out to alert security, the court was told.

Mrs Amogbokpa claimed Ms Tweedy charged at her and shouted "you fucking black bitch", before punching her, knocking her glasses off and leaving her left eye closed up.

She told the court: "When I asked her [Ms Tweedy] for the money, she said 'My father owns this place, I'm going to deal with you, I'm not going to give you any money'.

"She was very aggressive and she acted violently towards me - she grabbed those things." She added: "She was screaming and talking. She said 'you fucking black bitch' just over and over. The other girl Nicola was trying to restrain her. She was holding her and trying to calm her down."

The singer then had to be restrained by security staff as she struggled further, continuing to scream abuse, the court heard.

Patricia Lees, for the prosecution, said Ms Tweedy, from Heaton, Newcastle, was part of Girls Aloud, created from the TV show Pop Stars: The Rivals.

She said: "The prosecution allege that part of the reason this offence occurred is no doubt because the defendant had allowed her recent success to go to her head that night, causing her to behave this way."

Mrs Amogbokpa denied having been the aggressor. She admitted she was "reliant" on the money she made from the goods that were available in the ladies' lavatory.

Richard Matthews, for the defence, said the word "black" was not mentioned in the first statement Mrs Amogbokpa gave to police.

Ms Tweedy denies racially aggravated assault occasioning actual bodily harm and the alternative charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The trial continues