Woman left deaf after street assault

A YOUNG woman was left profoundly deaf after being attacked in the street.

Elizabeth Boyce, 33, was punched several times after a drunken argument in Whitburn, West Lothian.

The blows damaged an ear implant inserted because of a genetic hearing problem.

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Ms Boyce now suffers tinnitus - or ringing in the ears - and the success of an earlier operation she had to improve her hearing was reversed.

Her attacker, single mum Wendy Miller, expressed regret and remorse for what she had done when she appeared for sentence at Livingston Sheriff Court yesterday.

Her lawyer Darryl Lovie said: "There can be no doubt that the consequences of Wendy Miller's actions weigh heavily upon her shoulders.

"She's been finding it difficult to sleep, she's on anti-depressants and she's concerned about the effect her actions will have on her three children if she is sent to prison.

"She accepts that her suffering is a direct consequence of her own actions and that it pales into insignificance compared to the suffering of the complainer in this case."

Graham Fraser, prosecuting, told how Ms Boyce had become involved in an argument with the accused in Whitburn Main Street after a works Christmas party on December 13, 2009.

He said Miller had punched Ms Boyce once on the face before pulling her to the ground and punching her twice more on the head.

He said: "Apart from tinnitus, she's left with more profound hearing loss than she had before her operation in 2008 and there's no prospect of surgery.

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"This lady will be left with a hearing aid for the rest of her life."

Miller, 26, of Whitburn, West Lothian, earlier pleaded guilty on indictment to repeatedly punching Ms Boyce to her severe injury and permanent impairment.

She was put on probation for two years and restricted to her home on an electronic tag from 7pm to 7am curfew for 12 months.

Sheriff Graham Fleming told Miller: "There's no doubt that the consequences of your assault on the complainer were devastating and the sympathy of the court is with her, not you.

"There's no suggestion that, had the victim not had a pre-existing condition, that the violence you used would have had the same horrific effect.

"Having regard to the level of violence you employed and the circumstances in your personal background, it appears that prison is not the only appropriate sentence."