The Mirror reports on the guilty verdict reached by a jury in the trial of Natalie Sharp, the mother of murdered schoolgirl Tia Sharp, who was standing trial on charges of racially aggravated assault in connection with an incident at a Lidl supermarket on 18 April 2015.
Earlier this week, the Evening Standard, BBC News and the Daily Mail reported on court proceedings at Croydon Crown Court. Ms Sharp was accused of punching and kicking a female in the car park of a Lidl store in south London.
Prosecutor Duncan Cooke explained that an argument arose after Selvete Selmani, who is of Kosovan descent, parked her car in a space designated for mother and baby parking. Natalie Sharp, 34, and Christine Bicknell, 50, had been searching for a parking space when they saw Ms Selmani park her Volkswagen Golf in the vacant parking space.
Ms Selmani explained that as she was about to enter the store, Ms Sharp shouted at her “Why have you parked the car here, you don’t have any kids”. While queuing in the shop Ms Bicknell saw her and started shouting at her too.
Ms Selmani said: “She saw me in the queue, she started shouting at me “you fucking b****, you’re foreign. You don’t have kids.”
Ms Selmani told the court, “I felt very upset and I was very shy. I felt very bad.”
After returning to her car, Ms Selmani noticed a scratch on her vehicle and after seeing Ms Bicknell driving away, she put her hand out in an attempt to get her to stop her car. Ms Sharp then got out of the passenger seat and punched Ms Selmani three times in the head, kicking her legs and grabbing her by the hair. Ms Selvani suffered two black eyes in the assault.
Ms Selmani explained that she feared Ms Sharp was “going to kill” her saying the attack only stopped when a man intervened. Ms Selmani told the court: “Why you scratch my car, I was going to say. She was very quickly out of the car and first thing, she hit me. I did not say nothing. She did not wait for me to say anything she just hit me. I think she was going to kill me.”
Mr Cooke explained that during the attack, Ms Sharp used words of racial abuse shouting “f**k off back to your own country”. Ms Bicknell also got out of the car and shouted abuse at the victim saying “You f***king foreign c***, f*** off to your own country, you don’t belong here.” he added.
Giving testimony in court, Ms Selmani claimed that Ms Bicknell and the two children sat in the back of the car were “laughing” at her. She said: “She [Bicknell] did not come out to help. She was laughing at me.”
Before the car drove away, Ms Selmani took a picture of car’s license plate number handing the photo to police in order to identify the perpetrators.
A witness, Philip Walters, told the court that he was behind Ms Bicknell’s car when Ms Sharp got out of the car. He said: “She got out of the car very quickly, aggressively screaming and shouting and hit the woman in the face.”
He said that Ms Selmani looked like she was in a “state of shock”.
In court, Ms Sharp, 34, admitted to a charge of assault by beating while denying a charge of racially aggravated common assault. Ms Bicknell denied a charge of racially aggravated harassment.
Sharp was convicted of one count of racially aggravated assault and Bicknell of one count of racially aggravated harassment.
Sentencing has not been pronounced as yet.