A charity volunteer who set a tripwire that sent her neighbour tumbling down two flights of stairs has walked free from court.
Janet Pearson, 58, set the trap to catch her neighbour as she left her penthouse apartment in the early hours of the morning – causing the woman serious injuries to her face, neck and back.
You put a wire across the top of the stairs to act as an improvised tripwire
A court heard how she tied wire across the top of the stairs, knowingher victim would not see it due to a hallway light being out.
At Chester Crown Court yesterday, Pearson was handed a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years by Judge Rajeer Shetty.
He described the incident as “malicious and pre-meditated”.
“You knew that (the victim) often left in the early hours of the morning and you knew that because the hallway light wasn’t working, it would be dark when she left,” he said.
“You put a wire across the top of the stairs to act as an improvised tripwire.
“When the emergency services were called you wasted no time in trying to dismantle the scene to cover up your actions,” added Judge Shetty.
Following an earlier two-day trial at Preston Crown Court, a jury dismissed Pearson’s claims that she had no reason to set a tripwire.
They took just three hours and 25 minutes to find her guilty of causing actual bodily harm.
During the trial, prosecutor Kimberley Obrusik told the jury that there had been “a number of issues” between the neighbours, from Clifton Drive, Lytham, dating back to summer 2013.
The court heard they repeatedly argued about various issues, including Pearson putting her belongings in a storage cupboard belonging to her neighbour and Pearson accusing her neighbour of cutting the wire of some fairy lights she had put up outside her flat.
The victim, who has owned the flat for 15 years, told the jury: “There have been some disagreements. I asked her if she could take her things out of my cupboard in the hallway and she didn’t.
“It’s my store cupboard and I paid a lot of money to have it installed. Last summer, she moved in a notorious homeless man who was known in the area. He drinks a lot.
“I came home in the middle of the night and he was standing there in her dressing gown smoking a cigarette.
“He thought it was funny to throw his cigarette butts into my flower pots so I asked him to stop. He shouted abuse at me and was very offensive so, when I told my son, he went round and told him not to do it again.”
But the court heard how things came to a head on the morning of January 21, 2013, when the tripwire incident happened.
During the trial, the victim, who lives in a penthouse flat with her son directly above Pearson, told the court of the moment that she stumbled down the stairs.
She said: “I was carrying a bin bag in one hand and an overnight bag in the other.
“The lights hadn’t worked since November the year before so I was being careful.
“I felt something sharp on my shin and that was the last thing I remember.
“I fell down two flights of stairs. I was lying at the bottom crying because I’d hurt my wrist really badly.
“I could taste blood. It was on my face and in my hair.”
The mum-of-two, who owns a property business and a separate beauty company, was so severely injured that she needed surgery following the incident.
The judge also made Pearson the subject of a two-year supervision order, issued her with a six-month curfew and told her she must pay £4,000 in compensation.
The victim told the court she had also been prescribed medication for anxiety and had been left £12,000 out of pocket as a result of having to hire extra staff to help her manage her businesses.