Woman racially abuses her neighbor as she searches for a dog


A woman hurled racial slurs at a neighbor during a drunken search for a dog. Sophie Turnbull, from Llandaff in Cardiff, ripped Taneshia Sweetland’s palisade from the ground and shouted the n-word.

The accused, 30, appeared at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday after admitting he was the victim of aggravated racial harassment. Prosecutor Tabitha Walker told the court that Turnbull appeared outside the victim’s home on December 29 last year, calling his dog and asking Ms Sweetland to help find the animal.

“The defendant came into Ms Sweetland’s garden and stepped on the fence,” Ms Walker added. “Ms. Sweetland believed the defendant was intoxicated and warned her to be careful as the fence was weak.

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“The defendant got angry, calling Ms Sweetland disrespectful. She refused to leave and shouted, ‘Get your face off your phone, you don’t even care about your kids because you’re looking at your phone.’ “

Turnbull then tore down the fence from Ms. Sweetland’s garden. Ignoring the victim’s request to be left alone, Turnbull shouted the n-word at her and called her a “b****”.

The victim, who is mixed-race, asked, “Did you really just call me the n-word?” Turnbull shouted in response, “Don’t f*****g do this about the color or anything.”

Ms Sweetland called the police, who questioned Turnbull the next day. She told officers she had been drunk and ‘couldn’t remember anything but tea time’ when she and her partner at the time drank from a bottle of rum. During her interview, she reiterated that she was “in no way racist” and that she was embarrassed by his behavior.

Turnbull has two prior offenses on his record – one for racially/religiously aggravated harassment in 2019 and the other unrelated. His representative Tim Petrides said: “Sometimes when you hear the words ‘I’m not racist’ it may be a denial of what happened in a previous incident. It’s clearly not not the case here. There is a reflection that she has crossed the line and accepts that her behavior was unforgivable. She has had time to reflect since December.

Mr Petrides said his client was a victim of domestic violence and excessive drinking was the only way for her to cope with her then partner. Turnbull recently moved from her Ely Road home to a shelter.

“Treat the alcohol problem, you treat Mrs. Turnbull’s problems,” Mr Petrides said. He told the court that Turnbull was “afraid” of being sent to jail but that she “didn’t try to minimize what happened”.

Presiding Judge Norman Craggs followed the recommendation of the probation service’s pre-sentence report, imposing a 12-month community order with 30 days of rehabilitative activity and a two-month alcohol supervision requirement. The Universal Credit and Payment for Personal Independence claimant will have £95 deducted from their benefits for a victim services surcharge and £85 for prosecution costs.


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