Horrifying CCTV footage shows the moment two mums glass each other in a vicious pub fight that left them both with facial injuries.
Claire Byrne, 35, and 40-year-old Paula Breen were both hospitalised as a result of the drunken brawl at the Clock in Kirkdale, Liverpool.
They both appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday with visible scars on their face as a reminder of the fateful night on January 10 last year.
Judge Gary Woodhall condemned their violent actions saying their use of glasses and bottles as weapons were so ‘incredibly serious’ that they both deserved to be locked up.
He said: “Other customers describe being shocked by the violence you both engaged in and feared for their safety.
“The CCTV footage speaks for itself. Anybody watching that CCTV footage would be horrified by the violence you both engaged in.”
At the start of the clip, Breen can be seen sitting at a table with friends in the pub at around 10.30pm.
Byrne is shown to take a stool from that table, then sit back down at a different table with another group, prompting Breen to stand up.
Breen can be seen to shout something, then walk over to speak to Byrne, who just seconds later picks up a wine bottle and repeatedly coshes her with it as all hell breaks loose.
Christopher Hopkins, prosecuting, said other people intervened to restrain Byrne, before Breen fell to the floor, with “bumps” to the head as a result of the initial unprovoked assault.
The video shows Breen, a mum-of-one, get back to her feet and take a glass from a shelf which she throws at Byrne who is stood in a crowd of people.
The glass flies through the air before it hits mum-of-three Byrne in the centre of her forehead.
On impact it smashes and inflicts a “two to three inch long laceration”.
More people intervened and Breen was persuaded to leave the pub.
A second CCTV clip shows Breen standing outside before Byrne comes out of the pub and picks up a glass that was lying on the pavement.
Mr Hopkins said Byrne attacked Breen with the glass but it is not captured on camera.
The court heard it was disputed whether Byrne broke the glass before thrusting it into Breen’s face – as per Breen’s account – but Judge Woodhall said he would sentence Byrne on the basis the glass smashed on impact.
Dazed and confused, Breen then went back inside, slipped and fell to the floor.
The clip provided to the Liverpool Echo resumes as Breen re-enters the pub and falls over, before Byrne appears, holding another wine bottle.
She is then shown attacking Breen with it as Byrne lies defenceless on the floor.
When arrested Breen, who was left with a wound to the side of her chin and cuts to her arms, told officers “I retaliated”.
Mr Hopkins said both women made admissions in police interviews and pleaded guilty to affray.
Byrne, from Kirkdale, has a previous conviction for threatening behaviour in 2006 and a caution for common assault in January 2012.
Peter White, defending Byrne, accepted it was an “exceptionally serious offence”, adding: “The CCTV does her no favours.”
He said Byrne claimed she hadn’t been drunk, but was on medication for mental health issues and knew she shouldn’t have been drinking.
Mr White said: “She had recently gone through the breakdown of her marriage of 16 years at the time of that offence.”
The lawyer said his client accepted she had been “using alcohol as a crutch” but in the 12 months since “hasn’t touched a drop”.
Mr White said Byrne cared for a 16-year-old son with “difficulties”, and another child, aged seven, with less serious difficulties.
He said Byrne had another child, aged 11, who lives with her ex-partner and whom she sees on a regular basis, and lived opposite her mum, in her 60s, who has emphysema and relies on her for daily needs.
Mr White asked the judge to bear in mind her caring responsibilities, stating: “She is utterly ashamed of her behaviour on that night.”
Rebecca Smith, defending Breen, from Anfield, who has no previous convictions, said there was a distinction to be drawn between her client and Byrne.
She said: “Whatever words were exchanged between Miss Breen and Miss Byrne, it was an unprovoked attack to start with.”
Ms Smith said Breen was “dazed” when she fell, and after throwing a glass in “retaliation”, tried to remove herself from the situation.
She conceded both women’s behaviour was “unsavoury and to some levels despicable”.
Ms Smith added that Breen suffered from PTSD as a result of what she witnessed when her husband died in 2018, which had also affected her 22-year-old son.
Judge Woodhall said when Breen first approached Byrne, it seemed “for no apparent reason” Byrne’s “almost immediate response” was to attack her with the bottle.
He said Breen caused a “significant injury” by throwing a glass at Byrne, who in turn “didn’t give up” and pursued her outside.
The judge said Byrne “initiated the violence” in a “sustained and unprovoked assault” and her violence was greater than Breen’s.
Judge Woodhall also noted she had a record involving violence and the “ease and speed” with which she resorted to using it.
However, he said while Byrne carried out three attacks, Breen’s hurling of the glass into a crowd was the most serious violence.
Judge Woodhall said: “It was by luck rather than by design that no one else was injured. It so easily could have resulted in someone being blinded by a shard of glass breaking in your co-accused’s face.”
The judge accepted Breen played a less serious role than Byrne, was of previous good character, remorseful, had worked in a nursing home and was a victim of recent domestic violence.
He noted Byrne had been “disinhibited” by alcohol and was the sole carer for two children, who would be significantly impacted if she was jailed.
However, he said despite them both having “powerful” mitigation, the use of violence involving weapons was “incredibly serious”.
Judge Woodhall jailed Breen for 10 months, who burst into tears, and Byrne for 12 months, who showed no emotion.
Byrne then took the arm of Breen and consoled her, saying “you alright girl?”.