Grandma in court for gouging man's eyes 'thought she would die'
A GRANDMA accused of attempting to gouge out a man's eyes in an "ugly" assault on three people said she thought she was the victim of the attack.
Janice Birchall told a jury she acted in self-defence during the fracas in Milo Place in Linden in November last year.
The 40-year-old is alleged to have shouted racial abuse at Bryony Moore and left her with a bald patch after pulling out the fake hair extensions glued to her head as well as breaking her hand in two places in the frenzied attack.
She also stands accused of punching a 13-year-old boy who tried to stop the fight and attempting to put her thumbs in the eyes of Miss Moore's step-father Gareth Gardner on the same afternoon.
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Birchall, of Milton Avenue, Podsmead, told a jury she did not kick, hit, bite or go at any of the victims but said she only acted in self-defence.
She told the court she pulled Miss Moore's hair to try and stop her from punching her in the face.
She said the boy was hitting her around the back with a broom handle while Mr Gardner held her arms.
She said she swung free and accidentally elbowed the boy during the struggle.
Birchall said: "After I got away Mr Gardner put me in a headlock and I could not breathe.
"I thought he was going to strangle me and I thought I was going to die."
Prosecutor Nick O'Brien had previously told the court Miss Moore, who is of mixed race, was dropping her son off at her parents' home in Milo Place.
Birchall was visiting her parents in the same row of houses. He said Birchall's son approached Miss Moore and made comments about a previous dispute.
Miss Moore was said to have told the young boy to go away before Birchall began "shouting and swearing".
Mr O'Brien said Miss Moore had fallen over after being punched and broke the bones in her hand.
He said the teenager also broke his thumb when he fell and had a cut to his lip from him punching her in the face.
Mr Gardner, who suffers from epilepsy, was said to have been punched and pushed during the assault and had a small fit following it.
Mr O'Brien described it as a "rather ugly dispute between neighbours, made worse by the racial abuse".
Birchall denies assault causing actual bodily harm on Mr Gardner and the boy as well as the racially aggravated assault of Miss Moore.
The trial at Gloucester Crown Court, which started on Monday, continues.