Riding school receptionist, 39, repeatedly punched her sister-in-law

Riding school receptionist, 39, repeatedly punched her instructor sister-in-law, in the face outside stable block ‘after she told colleagues that she wasn’t doing her job properly’

  • Riding school receptionist Kirstie Whittingham, 39, went on the attack at stables
  • She smacked her sister-in-law riding instructor in ears, eye and jaw in fight.
  • Victims Hayley Dickens was left with concussion and new hearing problems 

A riding school receptionist repeatedly punched an instructor outside the stable block after she said she was useless at her job and ‘a joke’

Hayley Dickens said she still has hearing problems six months after her sister-in-law Kirstie Whittington, 39, struck her in the ears, eye and jaw on May 21 during the bust-up.

Mother-of-two Whittington claimed she acted in self-defence after Ms Dickens attacked her.

She claimed Ms Dickens had ‘gone off on a tirade’ saying she needed to ‘get off my a*** and do my job properly’.

But District judge Julia Newton convicted her at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court of assault causing actual bodily harm after hearing the evidence.

Ms Dickens, whose mother owns Gillian’s Riding School in Enfield, north London, said there was confusion that day over what horses were allocated for her clients, causing disruption to her lessons.

She felt it was ‘unprofessional’ and made a complaint in which she mentioned Whittington, sparking the row.

Riding instructor Mrs Dickens said:  ‘I came out of the horses’ stables and was confronted with her and she was quite clearly very upset about something.

Hayley Dickens said she still has hearing problems six months after the stable side fight

Mother-of-two Kirstie Whittington claimed she acted in self-defence but was convicted

‘She then said to me if I ever have anything that I want to say to her I need to say it to her face. She was at this point, using her hands gesturing, pointing quite abruptly, aggressively towards me.

‘She then continued with, “Don’t ever do anything like this again”. I then returned and said, “Well if I’m not happy about something in the work place I’m going to report it, you can’t say that to me”.

‘She then said somethings I think to insult me – “you’re embarrassing”, “you’re a joke” – she was quite nasty. She then pulled her fists up and then proceeded to hit me repeatedly in the head with both fists.

‘I had my hands up and was pushing her back. She hit me around three times by my right eye, she hit me over my right ear, she hit my left ear and left jaw.

‘There was probably five or six blows that made contact with my head.’

JPs heard Ms Dickens visited two hospitals which told her she had concussion and she still has issues with hearing in her left ear. 

Whittington’s defence lawyer had attempted to convince the court the victim had started the fight.

Ms Dickens’ mother owns Gillian’s Riding School in Enfield, north London, where it happened

Solicitor Lily Roberts-Phelps said: ‘You really don’t like Kirstie do you?’

Ms Dickens replied: ‘I’m not her biggest fan. I’m not her best friend.’

Whittington had orginally denied punching Ms Dickens, claiming the other woman attacked and injured her.

She told the court: ‘Hayley had gone off on a tirade about myself and then stated…if I get off my a*** and do my job properly then we wouldn’t have these problems with people.

‘I said to her calmly please don’t speak about me like that to other people, don’t slag me off to other members of staff, if you’ve got issues people come and speak to me.

‘She turned around and said to me, “My mum doesn’t even think you can do your job”.

‘All she kept saying to me was, “It’s all you, it’s all your fault, it’s always you”.

‘I went to walk away…because I had said what I needed to say and she didn’t even give me an answer that warranted anything I could understand.

‘Hayley turned around and said to me, “Don’t walk away from me”. So I turned back and then she walked up to me and came face to face so her nose was touching mine and she was talking through gritted teeth at me. I tried to back away which is when she grabbed my coat collar and my hair but quite harshly. I managed to get my hand and my arm up through hers and push away at her arm to try to get her to release.’

Whittington agreed she and Ms Dickens had ‘never had a close relationship as some sisters in law do’. 

Whittington, of Theobalds Park Road, Enfield, north London, denied but was convicted of assault occasioning them actual bodily harm.

She was bailed ahead of sentence on December 21.

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