A WOMAN who carried out a vicious assault on an older female was told she had come close to going straight to prison.

Blackburn Magistrates heard Leanne McKay punched her victim several times to the face, bit her head and ripped out clumps of her hair.

And after the victim managed to escape and raise the alarm McKay was seen on CCTV stealing her victim's television.

McKay, 32, of Thorn Bank, Bacup, pleaded guilty to assaulting Sue Green, damaging a pair of glasses belonging to her, theft of the TV and, earlier the same day, theft of cans of beer worth £7.50 from One Stop.

She was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months and ordered to do 80 hours unpaid work. She was ordered to pay Miss Green £250 compensation and made subject to a restraining order for 12 months which prohibits her from having any contact with Miss Green.

Parveen Akhtar, prosecuting, said Miss Green lived in supported accommodation at Thornfield House, Waterfoot, and knew McKay only because they lived in the same area.

"On this day she was viciously assaulted by the defendant," said Miss Akhtar.

At about 6.30pm Miss Green noticed the defendant following her, trying to give her alcohol and asking for cigarettes.

"She went to take £20 off Miss Green who was then subjected to a violent assault during which her glasses were knocked off," said Miss Akhtar. "She eventually escaped and went to the staff office to raise the alarm."

Miss Akhtar said as a result of the incident Miss Green was scared to go out on her own and relied on friends and family to come round and accompany her.

Ben Leech, defending, said his client's aunt had died in the week prior to the incident and she had been drinking very heavily.

"She has little recollection of what happened but believes that in drink she started to believe Miss Green was somehow involved in that death," said Mr Leech. "That was not the case and she can't explain why she started to think in that way. What she can say is that in a drunken stupor she involved herself in this unsavoury incident."