A Fife woman has blasted a claim she keyed a pensioner’s eye as “ludicrous”.
Wilma Cunniffe, 50, said her “jaw hit the floor” when she heard it being said in court.
She denies assaulting Patricia Donaldson at a New Year house party in Cardenden by repeatedly punching her on the head and punching her while holding a key or similar implement, to her severe injury.
A trial previously heard Ms Donaldson say she was hit in the eye with the key, leaving her eyelid “hanging down”.
She needed an operation and stitches to her eyelid following the episode on January 2 2020.
The 66-year-old said she was at the house after her daughter, Melissa Donaldson, suffered facial injuries apparently inflicted during an attack while leaving the party earlier.
Cunniffe and her daughter, Yazmin Cunniffe, 22, and 38-year-old Jennifer Kelly, are said to have acted with another to assault Melissa Donaldson by repeatedly kicking her on her head and body to her injury.
The three women, who are Melissa Donaldson’s cousins and second cousins, deny the charges and both Kelly and Cunniffe senior have lodged notices of self-defence.
‘Like two storming bulls’
She said she was in her brother Derek Kelly’s living room when Patricia Donaldson and her sister, Kay Feeley, came in “like two storming bulls”.
Care home worker Cunniffe said she tried to explain what happened earlier that night but Ms Donaldson called her a “fat b*****d” and grabbed her face, while Ms Feeley grabbed her hair.
She said she tried to protect herself and “fight them off” and that all three of them fell into the hallway and against the front door.
Asked by defence solicitor Ian Beatson about claims she struck her with a key, Cunniffe said: “My jaw hit the floor when I heard what she implied in court.
“My head was down and on the ground. I had a key? That’s absolutely ludicrous”.
Cunniffe said her brother later noticed the door key was snapped.
Earlier in the trial, Cunniffe’s brother said he witnessed Ms Donaldson fall into the front door and the key was snapped inside the lock.
Fell over ‘light-up reindeer’
Melissa Donaldson told the trial previously she was kicked on the ground in the garden as she left the party following an argument.
Cunniffe senior said she asked Ms Donaldson to leave the house and when outside, a “peed off” Melissa turned to her daughter and called her “a little sl*t”.
Cunniffe said she “stepped in” to protect her daughter as she thought Melissa was about to attack her.
She said Melissa grabbed her hair and they both fell over some Christmas decorations – the court later heard this was a light-up reindeer and sleigh – and briefly scuffled on the ground.
Asked by defence agent Mr Beatson if she kicked Melissa, Cunniffe said: “Never happened. It’s so fabricated it’s beyond belief”.
Daughter would ‘never wear’ tanned boots
Earlier in the trial Melissa’s then partner, David Laing, said he had been scuffling with another man in the garden and could see “three or four” pairs of female legs kicking Ms Donaldson but could not identify them.
At the time he told police he recognised a pair of boots being worn by Yazmin Cunniffe and described them in court as a light, tanned colour.
Cunniffe said: “They were black suede, I bought them for her Christmas.
“She would never wear a tanned boot. It’s not a colour she would ever wear, ever”.
Both Cunniffe and another relative at the house party, Karen Feeley, told the trial they did not see either Yazmin Cunniffe or Jennifer Kelly kick Melissa Donaldson at any point.
Jennifer Kelly’s daughter, 18-year-old Rachel Kelly, was acquitted of two assault charges earlier in the trial.
The trial, before Sheriff Charles Macnair, continues.
For the latest court cases across Tayside and Fife, join our Courts Facebook page.