A DOOR-WOMAN who twice knelt on a girl’s throat and choked her until the teenager feared she would die has been jailed.
Sonia Elizabeth Owens, 44, was on duty outside McDonald’s in Blake Street, central York, when she crossed the road to where the girl was on the phone to her father, said Martin Butterworth, prosecuting.
The door-woman dragged the girl into the middle of the road, punched her several times in the face and head and put her knee on the girl’s throat causing her to struggle for breath.
“I honestly felt like I was going to die,” the girl later told police. “I don’t understand what made her do that.”
It was the second time that night that Owens had forced the girl to the ground and put her knee on her throat.
The girl was 17 when the incident happened in the early hours of January 6, York magistrates heard.
The girl’s mother said Owens had been employed by another company and McDonald’s had been concerned about what had happened to her daughter.
“What happened to her was absolutely horrific,” said the mother.
The daughter is now afraid to go out with her friends and they avoid McDonald’s in Blake Street.
York magistrates told Owens: “There can never be any excuse for kneeling on someone’s neck and restricting their breath.”
They jailed her for 22 weeks. The maximum sentence they could have given her was 26 weeks.
Owens, of Bassenthwaite Walk, Knottingley, initially denied two charges of assault, but on the day she was due to stand trial, as witnesses waited to give evidence against her, she changed her plea to guilty.
She had no previous convictions.
A McDonald’s spokesman said: “Our door staff help maintain a friendly, welcoming environment in the restaurant, adhering to our people-first brand values.
“Anyone that doesn’t respect those values, or resorts to violence or abuse of any kind, is not welcome in a McDonald’s restaurant.”
For Owens, Fasar Mahmood told magistrates she had lost her job and her door security badge and was now living on benefits.
“She is extremely remorseful,” he said.
Working outside McDonald’s after the pubs close was “toxic” and Owens had been the only security staff on that night, he claimed.
The mother said the incident had begun when her daughter’s friend had asked for McDonald’s toilet to be unlocked because she needed to use it.
She had been refused and had had to relieve herself in the street.
The mother said her daughter had told Owens she had reacted in a “mean” way to her friend’s plight.
In court, Mr Butterworth said there had been a “verbal argument” between the teenager and Owens.
In a video shown to the court, Owens turns away, the teenager puts a hand on her shoulder and Owens then forces her to the ground and kneels on her.
Mr Butterworth said Owens refused to release the girl until she agreed that Owens was right.
The girl then crossed the road to sit with her friends and phone her father. She suffered a black eye and bruising to her face in the two attacks.