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Last Updated: Monday, 20 October, 2003, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Singer Tweedy guilty of assault
Cheryl Tweedy
Tweedy had said she acted in self-defence
A jury has found Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Tweedy guilty of assaulting a nightclub worker.

The pop star has been sentenced to complete 120 hours of unpaid community service and must also pay her victim 500 compensation.

Tweedy was additionally ordered to pay 3,000 of prosecution costs.

The singer had denied attacking toilet attendant Sophie Amogbokpa, saying she only punched her in self-defence.

The jury had reached a unanimous verdict that the 20-year-old, from Heaton in Newcastle, was not guilty of a racially aggravated assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

This was an unpleasant piece of drunken violence... you showed no remorse whatsoever.
Judge Richard Haworth

But they found her guilty of an alternative charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The charges against Tweedy stemmed from an incident at the Drink nightclub in Guildford, Surrey, on 11 January.

Tweedy, one of five members of Girls Aloud which was formed in the television series Pop Stars The Rivals, punched the toilet attendant after Mrs Amogbokpa tried to stop her taking some lollipops.

The judge at Kingston Crown Court told the jury there was no question that 39-year-old Mrs Amogbokpa had been injured in the incident but they had to decide whether the singer had acted in self-defence.

Tweedy had denied both charges against her.

Sophie Amogbokpa
Sophie Amogbokpa was working at the Drink nightclub

The jury of seven men and five women reached a unanimous not guilty verdict on the racial assault charge but were unable to agree over the alternative charge.

Judge Richard Haworth told the jury he would accept a majority verdict and the jurors decided by 11 to one that Tweedy was guilty.

Sentencing Tweedy, he criticised her for showing no remorse over the attack.

He said: "This was an unpleasant piece of drunken violence which caused Sophie Amogbokpa pain and suffering.

'Not a racist'

"Her eye was painful for three or four weeks, there was bruising for three months and for a while she had blurred vision.

"You showed no remorse whatsoever."

Girls Aloud

He said he had taken into account the singer's age, good character and unlikelihood to reoffend, when passing sentence on her.

Tweedy issued a statement through her solicitor, which read: "I'm pleased that the trial is over and thankful that the jury have accepted that this incident had nothing to do with race.

"I'm not a racist, and anyone who knows me knows I would not say anything racist.

"I'm stunned and disappointed by the conviction for assault.

"I would like to thank my family, friends and our fans for their support over this difficult year."

Surrey Police issued a statement after the verdict was reached.

Detective Constable Russ Cannon, who investigated the case, said: "This conviction in court following a thorough investigation sends out a clear message that offences of this nature will not be tolerated.

"ABH is a serious offence and will always be dealt with accordingly."




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's David Sillito
"Allegations that it was a racially motivated assault were thrown out"



SEE ALSO:
Girls Aloud's year at the top
20 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
Cheryl Tweedy jury sent out
20 Oct 03  |  England
Singer 'not above the law'
17 Oct 03  |  Southern Counties
Bandmate defends Tweedy's 'punch'
16 Oct 03  |  Southern Counties
Singer 'did not throw first punch'
15 Oct 03  |  England
Singer's punch 'was self-defence'
14 Oct 03  |  England
Singer Tweedy 'used right hook'
10 Oct 03  |  England
Singer 'racially insulted' woman
09 Oct 03  |  England


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