A meerkat expert has been ordered to pay £800 compensation after glassing a love-rival monkey handler in row over a llama keeper at a Christmas party.
Caroline Westlake and her colleague Kate Sanders came to blows in the London Zoo’s Prince Albert Suite in a jealous feud over Adam Davies, who has dated both women.
Former zoologist Westlake smashed Miss Sanders in the face with a wine glass after overhearing her insulting her looks earlier in the evening.
The 30-year-old wept in the dock as she was sentenced to a 12-month community order and ordered to pay £800 compensation to Miss Sanders and £200 prosecution costs at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today.
District Judge Jeremy Coleman described the injury as ‘nasty’ and told the defendant she was fortunate not to have been convicted of a more serious charge.
‘It’s an unpleasant injury to someone’s face which makes it rather worse,’ he added.
‘It was caused by a glass so an object was used so really a more serious charge against you could easily have been justified.’
Westlake alleges her fellow zoo keeper punched her in the face first and held her over a balcony while spitting in her face.
Earlier in the night on December 8 last year, she heard Miss Sanders telling friends in the toilets: ‘Have you seen the state of her?’
Prosecutor Daniel Geller said: ‘Miss Westlake hit Miss Sanders on the side of her face, she was holding a wine glass in her hand and it’s the glass which made contact with Miss Sanders’s face.
‘The glass appears to have broken on contact because it caused a cut to Miss Sanders’s face, a cut which was bleeding.
‘Obviously very surprised by this Miss Sanders stretched her arms out in defence, pushing Miss Westlake back by her neck.’
Miss Sanders was rushed to hospital and had to have a total of five stitches, the court was told.
In an impact statement she said she has been left with an ugly scar on her cheek ‘which will be with me for the rest of my life’.
‘I have to see that scar every day when I look in the mirror,’ she added.
Westlake, who was sacked by the zoo after the incident, had been seeing Mr Davies for a year at the time, and he had previously had a five-year relationship with Miss Sanders.
She said she did not remember hitting her colleague with the glass, but accepted that she may have reacted with it in her hand due to her dyspraxia and ADHD.
Westlake, of Salisbury Road, Banstead, Surrey, was previously convicted of one count of assault.