Mum who attacked love rival walks free because children’s dads are all in prison

A mum-of-three who stormed a love rival’s home has been spared jail because her kids’ dad are already in prison.

Gayle Smylie held a shard from a broken mug to the other woman’s throat after invading her home.

Smylie, 29, has two children to Anthony Moss, and Kelly Featherstone, 42, has one child to him.

He is said to have previously ‘two-timed’ the pair, reports the Liverpool Echo.

But after Miss Featherstone allegedly made controversial remarks about Smylie’s family online, Smylie and Moss invaded her property in St Helen’s, Merseyside.

Miss Feathertone was dragged into her living room, struck in the leg by Moss with a bat, and repeatedly hit by Smylie.

Smylie sobbed in court today as Judge David Aubrey, QC, described how she held the shard “at the neck of the victim.”

However, the single mum was spared prison after the judge said no one else could look after her children because their dads are in jail.

Liverpool Crown Court heard it was initially alleged that a sock with a weight inside was used to attack Miss Featherstone.

However Smylie admitted affray at the start of a trial on the basis no weapon was used.

Carmel Wilde, prosecuting, said this plea was accepted after “issues” with the victim’s evidence and “concerns about her credibility in relation to messages sent between the parties”.

She said Moss, 31, was in a relationship with Miss Featherstone for about four years, before they split in February 2015.

Miss Featherstone was at her home in Clock Face, St Helens, on October 20, 2018, when a car with blacked out windows pulled up outside.

Moss got out, jumped on her back gate and yelled “slag”, “dog” and “dirty smackhead”, before Miss Featherstone picked up a bat to protect herself, then went into the garden to try and scare him off.

Ms Wilde said Moss jumped down, but warned: “Watch what happens to you now – Gayle is coming in a minute you slag.”

The victim went inside, but 10 minutes later the couple arrived and Smylie ran up a path and started kicking the gate.

The court heard Miss Featherstone took the bat “and ran at her”, but was attacked and “dragged” inside, where the pair “hit her while she was on the floor”.

Ms Wilde said Smylie grabbed hold of her hair and throat, and the victim recalled being hit with an object to the head.

Moss was pushed outside by a witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and the back door was locked.

Ms Wilde said Smylie continued attacking Miss Featherstone, who “feared for her safety and reached out for anything to defend herself with, grabbed a mug and threw it at Ms Smylie”.

She said the mug hit Smylie and the victim got up, but Smylie “picked up a piece of the cup and tried to push it against the complainant’s neck”.

The victim managed to lock herself in her kitchen and her attackers fled, but only after Moss yelled: “Have you seen what you’ve done to her face? This isn’t the end, watch what happens.”

Ms Wilde said Miss Featherstone didn’t have any visible injuries and declined to provide a victim statement.

Moss, of Widnes, admitted common assault and unrelated offences of theft by employee, burglary and theft.

He stole nine mobile phones, lipstick, creams and a bracelet worth £2,757 while working for DPD in December 2017.

Moss also took a £25,000 Mercedes van after breaking into Swift Despatch in December 2018.

He was jailed for 21 months at an earlier hearing.

Smylie has six previous convictions for seven offences, including assault causing actual bodily harm in 2009. She was last convicted in 2011.

Judge Aubrey said the incident was a “joint enterprise”, adding: “These were two people who went on the bounce to someone’s home. They went inside the home. The victim was so frightened that she picked up a bat.”

Kate Morley, defending, said: “There were no physical injuries whatsoever to the complainant, not a scratch, not a mark, and in respect of fear or distress, well one can assume but certainly there’s no evidence of that – there is no victim personal statement.”

Asked what was the current position between the two “factions”, Ms Morley said there hadn’t been any contact and her client split up with Moss after the offence.

Judge Aubrey said Smylie’s children – aged six, five and two – lived with her, despite the involvement of social services.

Ms Morley confirmed the mum had suffered “domestic abuse” at the hands of Moss “and others previous to that”.

Urging the judge to spare her jail, Ms Morley said: “There is a protracted and acrimonious background to this. Ms Smylie and the complainant both have children fathered by the co-accused Mr Moss.

“Many years ago, and previous to this incident, there have been suggestions of infidelity on Mr Moss’ part, in living with one lady and sleeping with the other, and vice versa.”

She added: “This incident was sparked by comments on social media, questioning the paternity of Ms Smylie’s children.”

Judge Aubrey agreed the relationship between the parties was “acrimonious”.

He said: “Precisely the reasons for that acrimony perhaps are unclear and perhaps also it’s wise not to delve too much into the domestic issues.”

However, the judge said he had “no doubt whatsoever” that Smylie and Moss were “intent on causing trouble” and did.

Judge Aubrey said “precisely what happened” was “unclear”, but Miss Featherstone was struck more than once, before Smylie held the shard “towards or at her neck”.

He told Smylie: “The victim herself has not made any victim personal statement and that may suggest and speak volumes as far as the background and the history between she, Mr Moss and yourself.”

Judge Aubrey said he would have had “no hesitation” in jailing Smylie, but she “unfortunately” was a victim of domestic abuse, the attack was more than two years ago and she had three “extremely young children”.

He said: “You are a single mother. Social services are involved in respect of their welfare, but they remain at home with you.

“If you continue to behave in such a manner I have no doubt that the local authority will consider at the very least commencing further proceedings in relation to your capabilities in looking after your three children. You must reflect upon matters.”

Judge Aubrey accepted information provided by a social worker that if Smylie was jailed, “there are no family members who are able to care for your children”.

He said: “It’s a sad event that it’s also to be noted that in respect of those three children their respective fathers are in fact in prison themselves.”

The judge said Smylie’s “focus” should only be on her responsibilities and not behaviour that “hampers your care of the children and their welfare”.

Judge Aubrey handed her 12 months in jail, suspended for 18 months, with a 25-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

Smylie and Moss both received five-year restraining orders.

Judge Aubrey warned Smylie of the consequences of breaching these orders and being jailed.

He said: “The three children regrettably you may well find would be taken into the care of the local authority.

“Time has come for you, if I may say so, to sort yourself out.”