Dog walker is caught on camera whipping cancer survivor’s face with a lead

By Jonathan Humphries & Kit Vickery

A professional dog walker who was filmed whipping a woman who survived cancer in the face with a lead has been spared jail.

Nicola Grant, also known as Nikki O'Donoghue, was sentenced at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court yesterday, November 23, after previously pleading guilty to assaulting Emma Clay, leaving her with a black eye.

Miss Clay told the Liverpool Echo at the time of the attack that she was scared to leave her own home because of the incident.

According to the ECHO, at around 1.30pm on Wednesday, August 11, Miss Clay was walking her seven pugs in Cricketers Park, Wavertree, when she encountered Grant, who owned Diamond Doggy Care, arguing with a man.

She’d seen both people walking their dogs in the past so tried to defuse the situation, which appeared to have been started by 45-year-old Grant, of Prince Alfred Road in Wavertree, claiming the man’s dog had growled at one of several she was walking.

However, Miss Clay noticed the man was inside a fenced off area used for puppies, or dogs that are not suitable to be too close to other dogs, and suggested Grant should not have let her dogs get too close.

But Miss Clay said Grant, 45, of Prince Alfred Road in Wavertree, accused her of "siding" with the man and when things became heated, she began recording Grant with her phone.

Two sequences of mobile footage, recorded by both Miss Clay and by a witness, show Grant stood by her van in a car-park before re-entering the park to confront Miss Clay.

She attempts to grab the phone out of Miss Clay's hands before twirling a dog lead and eventually whipping it into her face as Miss Clay tries to back away.

Emma was left with a black eye after she was attacked by a professional dog walker in the Cricketers Park, Wavertree (Emma Clay)

Grant then left the scene in her van.

Speaking to the ECHO at the time, Grant said she accepted striking Miss Clay with the lead, but claimed she "lost her temper" after being "verbally abused".

Miss Clay told the ECHO: "It was horrible, it really was."

Emma with her pugs (Emma Clay)

She added: "I suffer with a lot of anxiety and it was so upsetting.

"I feel like I can't go out of the house in case I bump into her."

Miss Clay describes her pugs, named Buddy; Eric; Rico; Macy; Button; Beau and Coco, as her "babies" after cancer treatment left her unable to have children.

At the time she said she felt she could no longer go into the park to walk her pack.

Today Grant was handed 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and magistrates ordered her to pay £250 in compensation to Miss Clay.

She was also ordered to complete 20 Rehabilitation Activity days with the Probation Service and banned from contacting the victim under the terms of a two year restraining order.

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