A woman accused of stealing launched a barrage of racist abuse against a shopkeeper and laughed as her dog mauled him.Sonya Wadsworth, 41, let her dog Tyson off the lead and encouraged him to bite Varun Ditta after being confronted for putting children’s sweets in her coat pocket. She laughed as the Staffordshire Terrier sank his teeth into the victim’s thigh and said: ‘Haha you can’t do anything to me. My dog will bite you, P**i. Go home.’ Wadsworth, from Wythenshawe, Manchester claimed the animal was acting in ‘self defence’ and was ‘scared at seeing his mummy assaulted’.
She also called Mr Ditta a ‘P**i b*****d’, manhandled his colleague and said: ‘What are you doing here? Go back to your own country.’Wadsworth was convicted at Manchester Magistrates’ Court of racially aggravated common assault, racially aggravated harassment and having a dog dangerously out of control.
She has been ordered to carry out 300 hours unpaid work and to pay £620 in costs including £150 compensation to Mr Ditta.
The dog was unleashed in the Around A Pound Plus store in Wythenshawe at around 3pm on August 28 last year. Mr Ditta, often known as Jimmy, was at the back of the shop putting drinks on shelves while his colleague Mansoor Wahid, nicknamed Max, was at the till. He heard his workmate arguing with Wadsworth after she was accused of shoplifting and went over to ask what happened.
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Mr Ditta told the court: ‘She was saying “you are a P**i. What are you doing here? Go back to your own country”.’
He said she Wadsworth became more agitated when Mr Wahid urged her to either pay for the sweets or put them back.
The court heard how she emptied her pocket, put the items on the counter before throwing them onto the floor.Mr Ditta added: ‘She was being very aggressive and using abusive words and calling us ‘P**is. Max kept saying “stop this Sonya. I don’t need a fight with you. Just go home now”.’
Mr Wahid came around from behind the counter and was grabbed by the collar of his T-shirt while Wadsworth was near the doorway.
She then went to a pole outside the shop and untied Tyson, who has passed away since the attack.
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Mr Ditta said: ‘The dog was definitely trained and she was holding the lead of the dog and using it as a weapon.’
The court heard how the animal barked aggressively at customers as they walked into the shop, raising fears it could attack someone at any moment.Wadsworth laughed and encouraged Tyson as he left a deep bite mark in Mr Ditta’s left thigh.
Recalling the barrage of racist abuse he received while this was happening, he said: ‘I was just thinking “why is she doing this?” It made me upset and fearful.’Nnamdi Inegbo, defending, said Wadsworth denied all wrongdoing but ‘nevertheless will respect and appreciate the predicament she finds herself in’.
He added: ‘The dog is no longer with us. I believe it had a brain tumour therefore it was felt to put him out of pain was in everyone’s best interest and it was put to sleep.’
Mr Inegbo said Tyson was ‘acting somewhat strangely leading up to what happened’ and that Wadsworth did not have as much control over him as she would have liked.
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He said ‘there’s another side to Sonya’ and that his client is ‘productively using her time to engage with community with volunteer work.’