Meerkat Expert Not Guilty of Assaulting Monkey Handler Over Love Triangle With Llama Keeper
A meerkat expert who was convicted of assaulting a monkey handler in a spat over a llama keeper has been found not guilty of the alleged 2014 crime on appeal.
The Westminster Magistrates' Court on Tuesday struck down a lower court's decision to convict 30-year-old former London Zoo employee Caroline Westlake of "recklessly" cutting fellow zookeeper Kate Sanders on the cheek during a confrontation at a zoo Christmas party.
Both had both dated colleague Adam Davies, who looked after the zoo's llamas, the AP reports. Westlake was with Davies for five years prior to his relationship with Sanders.
According The Guardian, testimony in court revealed that Westlake overheard Sanders tell friends at the party that she looked “much better than Caroline – have you seen the state of her?"
Following a confrontation with Westlake, Sanders was left with a 1 cm cut on her face, made by a wine glass, that required stitches.
Sanders said that Westlake smashed the glass on her cheek as she tried to leave.
Westlake was fired from her job at London Zoo following the incident.
A judge ruled Tuesday that Westlake “did not foresee a risk of injury” as a previous ruling had found, overturning her conviction.
Nonetheless, Westlake's attorney said her client's life has been ruined by the incident and the press attention that has surrounded it.
"This has been a very traumatic time for Ms Westlake and her family, both during the events leading up to and following her wrongful conviction for assault by beating Ms Kate Sanders.
"Ms Westlake would like thank those that sent messages of support to her which have been a source of strength and encouragement for her."