Manchester

Oldham woman jailed over 'disfigured face' hate attack

Chantelle Richardson with Katie Piper - who she is appearing with in a documentary called Katie: My Beautiful Friends
Image caption Chantelle Richardson (l) said the case was important to all people who had facial disfigurements

A woman who attacked another woman because she had a facial disfigurement has been jailed for eight months.

Rachel Rooney, 31, of Capesthorne Drive, Oldham, taunted Chantelle Richardson - who has arteriovenous malformation - before punching her.

Ms Richardson's condition means she has an irregular connection between veins and arteries. Trauma to the nose could lead to bleeding and severe strokes.

The judge at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court agreed it was a hate crime.

Rooney had admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm at an earlier hearing.

'Example to others'

But, on Thursday, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) asked the judge to consider the attack as a hate crime and increase her sentence, using Section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act.

After the sentencing, Ms Richardson said: "Today's result is an important one both for me personally and for disfigured people in society.

"I hope this will be recognised as an example to others - it is unacceptable to bully, abuse and taunt people who look different and I hope it gives other disfigured people the confidence to go out in public without fear of prejudice."

CPS lawyer Rebecca Radcliffe said: "This was a completely unprovoked attack on a young woman who was simply minding her own business and enjoying the company of her friends.

"In our view, Rooney's actions were clearly motivated by hostility towards Chantelle's disability."

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