A BRIDE spent her wedding night in the cells in a bloodied gown after turning up on her neighbour’s doorstep and attacking her.
Imogen Hope, 37, was found guilty of assaulting neighbour Samantha Pilling by Calderdale magistrates yesterday. The court was told she and her new husband Keith, known as Homer, were on their way back from their reception when they confronted Mrs Pilling next door but one.
The couple had earlier married at Calderdale Register Office, Spring Hall, Halifax, before spending the evening drinking lager and spirits at The Shears Inn nearby.
Mrs Pilling told the court how she heard Hope drunkenly shouting abuse at her in the early hours of July 19 before coming up the path and banging on her door.
When she opened it, she said Hope tried to force her way into the hallway and punched her in the face around three times.
“I thought personally it wasn’t a way for a bride to behave on her wedding night. You don’t turn up at someone’s house and beat them up,” she said.
Mrs Pilling, a practising pagan, was accused of cursing the bridegroom’s parents, who live in the terraced house in between the two couples.
Mr Hope branded the mother-of-three a “white witch” who had given his father cancer.
Rubbishing the claim, Mrs Pilling said: “I don’t deal in curses. I work with crystals and herbs.
“In our belief system it’s the law of threefold – whatever you do will come back to you three times worse.”
When asked why she didn’t fight back, Mrs Pilling, who was in the Army before enrolling as a student nurse, told the court: “I am trained to kill.”
Her husband Stuart called police and when officers arrived to arrest Mrs Hope, she refused to change out of her wedding dress.
PC Stephen Young said: “It was suggested to her that she get changed out of her wedding dress. That was the initial agreement. She then changed her mind and decided to attend the custody suite as she was.”
He added: “There was a little bit of amazement from the lady and quite understandably on her wedding day. Her husband was obviously disappointed.”
Mrs Hope told officers she had bloodstains on her dress because she had earlier tripped on cobblestones and broken a nail, causing a cut to her finger.
She said she had confronted Mrs Pilling because she had been making her mother-in-law’s life hell by playing loud music and allowing her cats to breed “uncontrollably”.
The court heard there had also been a long-running dispute over a fence.
Mrs Hope was not allowed to return to her marital home in Clough Lane, Mixenden, for two weeks after her arrest due to her bail conditions.
Tearfully, she told the court she regretted the drunken confrontation but denied any violence.
“I was taken from my home for two weeks, I couldn’t see my kids, my husband, my dogs, for something I haven’t done, and it’s upset me,” she said.
She claims Mrs Pilling started the altercation by shouting insults from her bedroom window as she and her husband walked home.
Mr Hope told the court neither he nor his wife were violent and would not have started trouble on their big day without being provoked.
It was not the way they had planned to start their marriage, he added.
He said: “I remember her getting into the back of the police car. I said to the police officer: ‘Please don’t, it’s my wedding night.’”
Mrs Hope, a trainee nursery nurse’s assistant with no previous convictions, was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge.
She was also ordered to pay £300 prosecution costs and £75 compensation to her victim.