Woman angry at Iceland self-service checkout tries to bite security guard
A woman tried to bite a security guard after becoming angry at a supermarket checkout error. Michaela Johnson became enraged by a fault on a self-service machine in the Iceland on Commercial Street in Newport. She was abusive to staff before being arrested and throwing a cup of water from a toilet at police.
The 43-year-old appeared at Cardiff Crown Court on Friday, where she pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer and a public order offence. She also admitted an earlier offence of carrying a weapon — a spanner — in public. Read next:April Jones’ mum calls for new laws to punish killers who desecrate victims’ bodies
Johnson, of Pill, was caught with the spanner at around 5pm on September 23. A PCSO had spotted her arguing with another woman in the Kwik Save car park on Commercial Road. Prosecutor Lowri Patterson said: “The defendant was heard saying, ‘Come on, come to the corner.’ The woman arguing with the defendant was trying to walk off but the defendant followed her.
“The community support officer approached to calm the situation. The defendant pulled out a large adjustable spanner from her pocket and began trying to swing it at the other female. At this point, the pair were in the middle of the road.
“When the officer asked for the spanner, she handed it over. She said she had it for her own safety because she had been bullied and assaulted by the other female the night before.” Johnson appeared in court on November 10 over this offence.
The case was adjourned so she could be represented by her favoured lawyer — but hours after the hearing Johnson committed more crimes. Ms Patterson said: “The defendant entered Iceland at around 4.30pm and bought a bottle of Bailey’s and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. After buying them, she went back to get mixers and took these to the self-service checkout.
“There was an error on the scales and a shop worker went to assist. The defendant shouted, ‘F*** off, leave me alone, stop interfering.’ The security guard asked her to calm down or she would be banned from the store. “She shouted, ‘F***ing interfering, making me forget things, leave me alone.’ The security guard told her she would be banned from the store as she had been abusive to staff.”
Johnson replied: “I’m not going anywhere. I’m not scared of police. I’m going to prison tomorrow anyway.” She shouted and swore in front of customers and children.
A PCSO arrived and told Johnson the electric scooter she was carrying was illegal in a public space. Johnson said she was pregnant, then tried to bite the officer and the security guard as she was being restrained. Check crime figures for your area:
“She was taken to custody,” Ms Patterson continued. “For unknown reasons, at 1.25am she walked to the door of her cell and threw a cup of water from the toilet over two police officers.” The officers restrained Johnson on the floor while she spat at one of them, called him a “fat c***” and told him she had Covid. The officer had to attend hospital for a blood test and tetanus jab.
Johnson has 94 convictions for 185 offences. She committed her latest crimes in breach of a suspended 25-week jail term imposed last November for assaulting police officers and carrying cannabis. Laura Shepherd, mitigating, said Johnson struggles with borderline personality disorder and offended “prolifically and consistently” for years before “a significant break” when she stayed out of trouble.
“For the last 11 months while she has been on a suspended sentence, she has completed 27 of the 30 sessions ordered,” Ms Shepherd added. “Probation officers have expressed tentative optimism about Miss Johnson in her attitude towards the order.” The lawyer said Johnson has a “tendency towards violence” and “difficulties with men” because of childhood experiences. She has also been impacted by the recent bowel cancer diagnosis of her grandmother, who raised her.
Johnson is receiving injections from the Gwent Drug and Alcohol Service to deal with Class A opioid withdrawal. Her flat in Dolphin Street is “a very important stabilising factor for her”, Ms Shepherd said. “Were she to be sentenced to prison for longer than 12 weeks, she would lose that accommodation,” the lawyer told the court.
Cardiff Crown Court (Image: Mark Lewis)
Recorder Duncan Bould said he could not avoid sending Johnson to prison, adding: “She has previous offences against emergency workers and for no proper reason she commits them again after being in court in the morning.”
Passing sentence, the judge told Johnson: “You were in jeopardy last week of losing your liberty and you can remember I agreed to your application to adjourn the case so Ms Shepherd could represent you. “Unfortunately on that day you committed a further offence on an emergency worker in the most unpleasant circumstances. I don’t overlook that you are a person with a number of difficulties, not least the recovery from Class A drug addiction and an understandable mistrust of males.
“However, at some point you’re going to have to learn to control your behaviour. Otherwise, sentences will be less to help you and more to punish you. That’s a sad feature, I’m afraid.
I don’t see it as in any way likely to benefit you, but the court cannot overlook this repeated offending.” Imposing a 24-week jail term, the judge said he hoped Johnson would keep her home as she should serve just 12 weeks of the sentence in prison. He chose not to activate the suspended sentence so she would have the best chance of keeping the accommodation.
Johnson must pay a victim services surcharge of GBP128 but will not have to cover prosecution costs because does not have the means to pay. Before being led to custody, she turned to her partner and said she loved him. Chief Constable Pam Kelly said: “Assaults on police officers and other emergency service workers are completely unacceptable.
It is important to remember that behind their badge or their uniform, these people are also members of the public. “Nobody should be assaulted in their place of work and there can be no excuse whatsoever for this kind of behaviour. Assaults of any kind will never be tolerated by Gwent Police at any time.”
Gwent Police refused to release a custody image of Johnson.
To get the latest email updates from WalesOnline click here.