A BRIDE was arrested for assaulting a neighbour on the day of her nuptials and spent her first night of marriage in a Halifax police cell - while wearing her bloodied wedding dress.
Newlywed Imogen Hope, 37, attacked Samantha Pilling, accusing her of being a white witch and putting a curse on her family.
After being arrested, she was asked by police if she would like to change out of her dress but she refused and spent the night wearing her bloodstained gown while her groom was forced to sleep at his parents’ house.
A court heard how Hope had returned from her wedding reception with new husband Keith Hope, 38, just after midnight when she decided to confront Mrs Pilling, who had a long-running dispute with the Hope family.
Hope, who weighs just 8st and is a size six, had drunk lager and spirits at her reception at the Shears Inn, Halifax, following a ceremony at Halifax Registry Office, when she returned home and shouted up to Mrs Pilling, who was in her upstairs bedroom knitting.
Still wearing her wedding dress, which was already bloodstained after she broke an acrylic nail when she tumbled on a cobbled street outside her reception, the new Mrs Hope hurled abuse on Mrs Pilling’s doorstep.
She called practising pagan Mrs Pilling a “white witch” and accused her of putting a curse on her father-in-law, who lives in the house between the two and had recently been diagnosed with cancer.
Husband Keith Hope, who works for the gas board, and former bouncer Stuart Pilling, also argued and tussled as they separated their wives and Mr Pilling phoned the police, the court was told.
Prosecutor Jane Farrar told magistrates Mrs Pilling had bruising and scratches to her face and wrist after intoxicated Mrs Hope struck at least three blows on the doorstep of the terraced house.
The mother-of-three is on medication for anxiety and has suffered an abscess in her jaw which she believed was triggered by the attack.
PC Stephen Young was the first officer to arrive at the Pillings’ house and said Hope stood out straight away because she was “wearing a wedding dress”.
When he arrested her in the early hours of July 19 this year, he asked if she wanted to change out of her bridal gown before being taken to the police station.
He said: “It was suggested to her that she get changed out of her wedding dress. That was the initial agreement. She then changed her mind and decided to attend the custody suite as she was.
“There was a little bit of amazement from the lady and quite understandably on her wedding day. Her husband was obviously disappointed.”
Giving evidence at Calderdale Magistrates’ Court, mum-of-three Mrs Pilling said she was a pagan but she did not deal in curses and was shaken up after the attack.
Mrs Pilling, who moved in next door to Mrs Hope’s in-laws Christine and Keith Sr five years ago, said: “She told me her father-in-law had cancer and it was my fault because I had cursed him.
“I don’t deal with curses, I work with crystals.”
Mrs Pilling told the court: “Personally I thought it was not the way a bride should behave on her wedding night.”
The student nurse, who trained as a paramedic with the British Armed Forces, said: “I’m not practising as a witch at the moment, there’s too much negativity in my life.”
She told the court she didn’t hit Hope because she was not a violent person and could easily have hurt her because of her Army training. She added: “I have been trained to kill.”
Trained nursery nurse’s assistant Hope was given bail after her arrest but told she could not return to her marital home for two weeks as it was only two doors down from Mrs Pilling.
She tearfully told the court: “I was taken away from my home for two weeks I couldn’t see my kids, my husband because of something I hadn’t done.”
Her husband told the court he had been looking forward to taking his wife home and was devastated when he couldn’t spend their first night of matrimony together.
He said: “I asked the police ‘please don’t, it’s my wedding night.’”
When asked by defence solicitor Michelle Flaga how he hoped his wedding night would end, Mr Hope said: “Just on a peaceful note, what you normally do on your wedding night.”
Hope denied one charge of assault by beating and said she couldn’t recall what had happened because she was drunk, but after a one-day trial on Wednesday, magistrates delivered a guilty verdict.
Chairman of the bench Pauline Lomax gave Hope a conditional discharge and ordered her to pay 75 pounds in compensation to Mrs Pilling and court costs of £300.
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