Natalie Simpson, left, pictured outside of court. *File photo
Natalie Simpson, left, pictured outside of court. *File photo

Supporters of a British guest worker who was jailed for glassing another woman have launched an online petition against her sentence.

Nearly 700 people have signed the petition that brands the two-year sentence handed down to beauty therapist Natalie Simpson as ‘unfair’.

Simpson, 25, admitted unlawfully wounding Alexandra Wheatley at a New Year’s Eve party in Hamilton.

The sentence left her supporters crying in the Supreme Court in stunned silence. Her boyfriend, James Henderson, who was in the centre of the row which led to the incident, had to be supported as he broke down in tears. 

The petition claims the sentence was too severe, especially because Simpson accepted responsibility for her actions.

Inaccuracies

But there are inaccuracies reported in the petition — it states Simpson was sentenced to four years imprisonment and received a two-year discount for her guilty plea.

In fact, while the Prosecution suggested a sentence of up to four years, the judge imposed a two-year prison sentence taking into account her guilty plea.

The petition does not mention that Simpson left Bermuda without contacting Police after the attack, despite knowing that Ms Wheatley was injured.

It also cites, without any detail, a case where a man was sentenced to six years behind bars for manslaughter asking, “Where is the consistency in the Bermuda Judicial system?”

So far, 691 people have signed the petition since its June 6 launch.

While the Bermuda Sun tried to ascertain the origins of the signatures, it was unable to do so.

Its launch has prompted close to 30 comments over a weeklong span, garnering mixed reaction to the crime. Most of the comments posted originated in the United Kingdom.

Rick Saints, a Bermudian living in Birmingham, said: “She got what she deserves. That woman she glassed is an upstanding member in Bermuda. How would you people feel if she done it to one of your family members? It makes no difference if she has no criminal record. The judge finally got it right. Good job.”

Meanwhile, Karyn Knight, who is a student at the University of Toronto, questioned Simpson’s actions, asking why the victim was glassed in the face. 

She pointed out that Simpson should have exercised greater restraint: “It’s called self-control and sadly she has been made an example of what the judge feels should be no tolerance to such impulsive
behavior.”

Her response did not sit well with Simpson’s sister, Viki, who said the accused threw the glass in retaliation to the victim attempting to punch her.

During mitigation at Simpson’s sentencing, defense lawyer Marc Daniels said there was “quasi provocation” as Ms Wheatley attempted to punch Simpson after she threw the drink on her, grazing Simpson’s chin.

Simpson’s boyfriend, Mr Henderson, also responded to the post, telling another blogger, the purpose of the petition was to highlight the injustice of the sentence based on similar previous cases on the Island: 

He said: “Natalie admitted she threw the glass from the first opportunity and all we seek is a fair sentence, that is all.”

The Bermuda Sun attempted to reach the author of the petition, but is yet to receive a response. When contacted, Mr Daniels would only say: “I have no comment as the sentence is under appeal.”

During the sentencing, hearing Justice Charles-Etta Simmons said she felt Simpson deliberately targeted the victim even though her boyfriend tried to intervene when she and Ms Wheatley argued.

And while she gave credit to Simpson for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity and having a previously clean record, she also took into consideration Ms Wheatley’s permanent scarring, Simpson’s drunkenness on the night, the fact that she ran away from the scene and subsequently left the island for vacation. 

The petition is located at www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/nataliesimpson 

This paper found another petition protesting against Simpson’s sentence on a www.ipetitions.com but thus far it has no signatures.