A barmaid who was beaten up by a drunken mother of three at a Bolton wedding reception despite pleading she was pregnant with her first child has given birth to a healthy baby.
Rachael Bonney, 26, who was seven weeks gone, had warned Sarah Etchells ‘don’t be hitting me, I am pregnant’ as the 34-year-old was on a booze fuelled rampage with her husband.
But Etchells told her mockingly ‘you’re pregnant, are you? You’re pregnant?’ before punching and scratching Miss Bonney as the victim used her arms and legs to protect her unborn child.
Two elderly colleagues of Miss Bonney were also assaulted and injured during the terrifying incident at the end of the reception party at the Railway Club, in Bolton, Greater Manchester.
Miss Bonney was taken to hospital with a three inch scratch to her chest but doctors gave her the all clear and said her unborn baby was unharmed.
Police who investigated the attacks discovered it had been triggered when staff cleaning up at the end of the function began bursting balloons.
At Bolton Crown Court, Etchells, from Farnworth, near Bolton, was ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work after admitting assault and criminal damage.
Her painter and decorator husband Nick, 52, and a third attacker Dale Hughes, 27, a fork lift truck driver were each locked away for 18 months for assault.
Now Rachael, who is due to marry her long-term partner in 2015, has given birth to a son Carter weighing 8lb after an emergency caesarean section.
She said: “Carter is perfect in every way but if I hadn’t managed to protect myself God knows what might have happened to him the way that woman was behaving that night.
“Personally I think Sarah Etchells should have gone to prison especially as they were others who were far more seriously injured than me.
“She started the whole thing and that night she was like a woman possessed. In my mind if I hadn’t managed to protect myself she would have landed some punches on my baby bump and the consequences of that could have been dreadful.”
ATTACKED: Rachael suffered a three inch scratch in the assault (©Facebook)
Bolton Crown Court heard how the incident took place in August 2013 after the Etchells – who married in 2012 – were invited to the wedding reception as guests and 100 people were present.
Trouble began at about midnight as the celebrations began to wind down and club secretary Harold Foulkes, 76, began to pop balloons during the clean-up as the party had previously set the club alarm off.
As he did so Etchells began ranting at Mr Foulkes as he had woken up her daughter and further trouble occurred outside when the party were seen to be behaving loudly.
As the club has a sign up outside asking customers to be quiet, Mr Foulkes’ wife Eileen, 75, – who brought food to the club for her husband – politely asked the Etchells to keep the noise down.
But the drunken blonde punched the elderly woman in the face whilst Mr Etchells set about the victim’s husband punching him in the head and face, causing his nose to bleed.
Fearing he would be hurt even more, Mr Foulkes got into the car and tried to drive off with his wife and Miss Bonney in the back.
However, punches continued to reign down on the man through the open window of his car and he felt trapped as he had his seatbelt on and could not move, rendering him helpless as he was repeatedly attacked.
Mrs Etchells then jumped into the car and began attacking Miss Bonney pulling her hair and scratching her chest despite pleas to leave her alone.
Miss Bonney added: “The wedding party had been quite rowdy and as we were closing up at the end of the night Harold asked the guests to keep the noise down because there are houses nearby.
“He gives all the staff a lift home every night so me, Eileen and two other members of staff got into the car ready to go home.
“Then the guests started shouting verbal abuse at Harold, calling him a paedo. It was horrific. Sarah Etchells came over to the car and asked Eileen to get out. Eileen got out of the car because as a 75-year-old woman you don’t expect to get hit, but the next thing Etchells took her shoes off, ran around the back of the car and smacked Eileen in the face.
Miss Bonney remained in the car for fear that if she became involved it would put her unborn child at risk and thought ‘if I lose this baby I will never forgive myself’.
Etchells then jumped in the car beside her and started punching her in the face and pulling her hair.
“I panicked and said ‘don’t be hitting me, I am pregnant’,” added Miss Bonney.
“I thought it might stop her from attacking me but she replied ‘you’re pregnant, are you? You’re pregnant?’ and then she started going for my stomach.
“I couldn’t do anything except try to protect my stomach. I had my arms and legs up trying to protect the baby but she didn’t stop, she just hit my arms and legs instead. She was like a woman possessed.
“When we got to hospital I realised I had scratches on my chest. Luckily the baby was fine and I had a normal pregnancy after the attack but I was an emotional wreck after what happened. The whole thing was just so traumatic. What happened to Harold and Eileen was terrible.”
Mr Foulkes was punched in the face knocking off his spectacles and hearing aid. He suffered bruising to both eyes, severe facial swelling and bruising, a cut top lip and a cracked tooth.
His wife suffered a large bruise to her left temple and other minor facial injuries.
During the hearing at Bolton Crown Court the judge Mr Recorder Timothy Hamman said it was a ‘disgraceful’ incident and added: “Sarah Etchells, you started it. For a married woman with a child who was present looking on your behaviour was as bizarre as it was disgusting.
“You should be ashamed. I watched you sat through your husband’s trial without showing any glimmer of emotion or embarrassment at your appalling behaviour.”
Story via Cavendish Press.
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Inset image courtesy of Facebook, with thanks