Secretary faces jail for stiletto attack

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The Independent Online

A secretary was facing jail today for kicking a train passenger in the face with her stiletto heel after he told her boyfriend to take his feet off a first class seat.

Outraged Laura Cook, 29, branded her smartly-dressed victim a "jumped up City worker in a cheap suit" seconds before Nicholas Rogers, 31, hurled him to the floor.

CCTV footage then showed her joining in the attack and lashing out with her foot, possibly causing a large gash in Ian Garven's cheek.

London's Southwark Crown Court was told the wound later had to be stitched.

Cook, a personal assistant to a company director, claimed she was simply trying to rescue her claims adjuster boyfriend, who argued he had been acting in self defence.

But the seven-woman, five-man jury took less than four hours to decide unanimously that both were lying and convict them of one count of actual bodily harm.

Adjourning the case until November 27, Recorder Stephen Miller, QC, said both defendants could remain on bail while pre-sentence reports were prepared.

The court heard Cook, from Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, and her boyfriend from Enfield, Middlesex, had spent the hours leading up to the vicious Friday night attack on 16 February last year respectively drinking champagne and wine at a "works dinner".

They then caught a taxi to Liverpool Street station, boarded a Southend-bound train, sauntered into a first class compartment and sat near Mr Garven and a friend of his.

"Rogers had his feet on the seat and Mr Garven made a complaint about this and an argument ensued," said James Harris, prosecuting.

"The Crown say it was, to a large extent, conducted and maintained by Ms Cook who got up and in the corridor of the train walked backwards and forwards in an agitated and aggressive way.

"At this point Mr Rogers tried to tell her not to behave in this way and it appeared the argument subsided.

"But then without warning Mr Rogers got up and started to assault Mr Garven, pinning him to the floor.

The personal assistant then "strode over" and began kicking their victim "with her high heel."

The barrister then added: "The injury to Mr Garven's face, the Crown suggests, but cannot prove, was done by Ms Cook with her high heel."

A railway employee saw the attack and called police.

The barrister told the court not long afterwards four officers turned up and asked what had happened.

Cook promptly pointed to an injury on her boyfriend's neck, indicated his torn T-shirt and then pointed her finger at Mr Garven.

He was initially arrested, but when he explained he was the real victim and "dried blood" was then spotted on the Cook's hand, she and her boyfriend were detained instead.