A chip-shop disagreement over washing up led to a Milford Haven woman permanently scarring her sister-in-law.

Jenny Louise Hutchings, of Richard John Road, pleaded guilty to assault causing grievous bodily harm when she appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates on Tuesday, January 14.

Prosecutor Sian Vaughan said Hutchings, 40, went to lend a hand at Gordon Bennett’s chip shop, Milford Haven, run by her brother and sister-in-law, at around 11am on August 26.

An argument developed about where to wash up a tray of cups and saucers, and Hutchings told her sister-in-law, the licensee, that she would punch her if she did not leave.

She struck her above her left eye and the woman felt blood running down her face. Hutchings then punched her a second time on her nose.

The victim stated: “She was ranting, she continued to shout at me. She told me to get out.”

The cut was glued at Withybush hospital, but the woman was left with a permanent scar as a result of the injury. She continued to suffer headaches and swelling a week later.

Jonathan Webb, defending, said Hutchings had helped out at the struggling family business when needed, before it closed last year.

He said Hutchings claimed the victim had been shouting and swearing at her, and she warned her to ‘get out of her face’ or she would slap her.

“The victim continued shouting, she says she just saw red and hit her.”

Mr Webb added: “She was there to try and keep the business together.”

The bench heard that after making a full admission to the police, Hutchings returned to the restaurant to finish her shift when released. She continued to assist the business until it finally closed its doors.

Mr Webb told the court single-mother Hutchings had shown remorse and apologised. He added she had suffered a number of health issues and struggled with strength in her right arm in addition to carpal tunnel syndrome in her hand.

“She is at a loss to understand how these blows caused such severe damage, given the lack of power in her right side.”

He added: “It’s a nasty injury caused in a one-off incident when someone has seen red and lost their temper.”

Magistrates sentenced Hutchings to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours of unpaid work.

She was ordered to pay £457 in compensation, costs and a surcharge.

The chairman of the bench said: “It had quite an impact on your victim.

“It was a moment of madness, but never-the-less it was deeply unpleasant.”