Woman ‘terrified’ after car park road rage assault
REVERSING her car from a shopping centre turned into an ugly bout of road rage when a 62-year-old woman was set upon by an angry motorist who jumped out of another car to abuse her.
An Ipswich court has heard how the victim's car door was forced open and the woman punched twice in the face by an angry, verbally abusive Rebecca Ninness, who accused the unsuspecting complainant of trying to kill her.
Ninness also repeatedly shoved the car door into the driver's leg, in details heard before Ipswich Magistrates Court.
Rebecca Rae Ninness, 27, pleaded guilty to the serious assault of a person aged over 60 in Brassall on January 12; stealing; wilful damage on January 12; possession of drug utensils; wilful damage on December 29 last year; two counts of driving when drug positive on December 29 last year and January 7.
Prosecutor Sergeant Rose Molinaro said Ninness punched the 62-year-old woman twice in the face then began slamming the door repeatedly against her leg.
A group of worried onlookers gathered at the scene, police were being called with Ninness leaning inside the car and snatching the woman's purse and leaving.
The purse held $260 cash, bankcards and the woman's driver's licence.
Sgt Molinaro said the woman was reversing out of a car park when the driver of a vehicle in which Ninness was a passenger beeped the horn.
Ninness got out and began yelling and screaming at the victim, then punched her at least twice in the face, Sgt Molinaro said.
There had been a verbal exchange between the two women, the court was told.
Other shoppers followed Ninness after the incident and directed police to where she was.
"She told police that she took the purse to get the victim to say sorry," Sgt Molinaro said.
"The woman says she was terrified and is still terrified to go to the shops.
"It should be viewed seriously by the court. There needs to be deterrence to make it clear the community through the court denounces this conduct. This behaviour is completely unacceptable."
Sgt Molinaro said police sought a sentence of 12-15 months with some actual jail time or be open for immediate parole release.
She said older people needed protection from such incidents.
Defence lawyer Kathryn Lohman said Ninness saw the car reversing out and believed it would be a near-miss accident as it came toward where she was seated.
"Her intent was to get out of the car and simply alert the driver to the near miss and in future look more closely to where she was going," Ms Lohman said.
"It obviously escalated."
Ms Lohman said the incident had worsened the existing anxiety felt by Ninness.
"There was a degree of provocation by the victim," Ms Lohman said.
Magistrate Robert Walker said Ninness committed other offences that same day before the assault at 5pm in the Hunter St car park at the Brassall shops.
"Your driver tooted the horn. You got out and ran to her car. Shouted and swore at her," Mr Walker said.
"You forced her to open the car door.
"You were yelling and screaming, and accusing her of trying to kill you.
"You punched her in the face and repeatedly slammed the door against her leg.
"There was a mobile phone recording police had access to."
Mr Walker said the woman was treated for bruising and soreness.
"This sort of behaviour is totally unacceptable and must be condemned," Mr Walker said.
"An offence of violence against a 62-year-old woman."
For the assault Ninness was convicted and sentenced to a nine-month jail term, suspended for 18 months.
She received a concurrent three-month jail term for stealing the victim's purse.
On other charges she was sentenced to a supervised probation order of 18 months.
Ninnness was ordered to pay the woman $500 for pain and suffering.
On the two driving when drug positive offences, she was fined $750 and disqualified from driving for six months.