A HELENSBURGH woman who carried out a vicious assault in which she kicked her victim repeatedly on the head has narrowly avoided being sent to prison.

Monica Pilkington grabbed her victim by the hair, pulled her to the ground and repeatedly kicked her in the head in the attack in a town centre street.

The 20-year-old Kirkmichael Road resident was sentenced at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Friday after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to a charge of assaulting a woman in James Street, close to the junction with West Clyde Street, on March 17 last year.

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Prosecutor Kara Watt told Friday’s hearing: “The accused had gone out with friends and was socialising.

“At 2am they became aware of an argument outside involving one of their friends.

“Pilkington went over and grabbed one of the women and kicked her on the face.

“There was swelling to [the victim’s] upper lip and nose, causing it to bleed. She also suffered a chipped tooth. Police were contacted.”

Defence lawyer Kirsteen McRae told Sheriff Simon Pender her client had lived “a very good life” since being convicted of two offences in her teens.

Ms McRae said: “There had been a large disturbance outside involving young men. The complainer ended up assaulting a woman there.

“She can offer no explanation other than the fact she was under the influence of drink.

“It was out of her character for her. She was not in the habit of being so drunk.

“She has two previous convictions – one when she was just 14 and the other aged 16, one of them analagous.

“Since 2015 she has lived a very good life. She has been given the chance to take on a college course. She realises this conviction will have consequences for her future.

“She is ashamed and embarrassed to be here in court. She has apologised to the complainer and is anxious to make amends and put the matter behind her.

“She has accepted throughout that this was her fault.”

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Sheriff Simon Pender said: “Someone who stands over someone on the ground and kicks them repeatedly on the head has the intention of causing serious harm.

“You should be in no doubt this was a serious matter. It is only by good fortune that the injuries were not more serious.

“In all the circumstances I will deal with this by a community payback order, but this is a direct alternative to custody.”

Pilkington was put on 18 months of supervision and ordered to pay £350 compensation to her victim at a rate of £100 a month.

In addition she was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, reduced from 240 hours because of her early plea of guilty.

She was told to do the work within 10 months.