A WOMAN viciously assaulted her ex-partner and his new girlfriend, a court heard.

Laura Hope, 27, of Dolphins, Westcliff, launched a prolonged attack on the couple who were forced to seek refuge in a shop where the attack continued.

Hope denied two counts of assault, but was later found guilty after a trial at Basildon Crown Court and appeared at the same court to be sentenced, despite insisting she was not guilty.

Sentencing her yesterday, judge Ian Graham said: “You saw your ex-partner and his new girlfriend and took great exception to that.

“You pulled up in your car, was abusive to them and eventually violent.

“They escaped the van they were in and tried to seek refuge in a nearby shop, but you continued to attack them.

“During the trial, we heard witness testimony that you were hitting him and he was doing nothing to fight back or resist.”

The court heard the whole incident took place in front of shocked schoolchildren who were in the shop at the time.

The male victim suffered a serious eye injury during the attack while his partner suffered scratches and bruises.

Mitigating barrister Rhys Rosser told the court her relationship with the victim was “toxic”, adding: “This was the first time she was aware the relationship had ended.

“There was some verbal exchange so there was an element of provocation.

“She continues to deny the assault but accepts the verdict of the jury and that she falls to be sentenced for that today.”

Mr Rosser told the court the 27-year-old had since moved on from this relationship and was four-months pregnant with a new partner.

He also stated that she was studying an accounting course which she hoped would help her provide for her baby when it is born in March.

Judge Graham added: “It is clear that last summer your relationship was coming to an end. Exactly when it ended was disputed between the two of you which was heard at length during the trial.

“This was an unpleasant and violent attack in a public place.”

The court heard Hope was of previous good character and had no relevant previous convictions.

Judge Graham handed her a 12-month community order.

The order requires her to complete 20 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement with probation and 60 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Graham said it was not realistic to expect her to pay prosecution costs of £3,500, but she must pay the statutory surcharge.