A DRUG addict pinned her homeless friend to the ground and slapped him after a morning of May Morning revelry in Oxford.

Ella Pecko was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court today, having admitted one count of common assault against Joseph Nolan.

The 28-year-old had carried out the attack with her friend, who has also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced at a later date.

The court heard how the pair followed Mr Nolan from Oxford city centre on May 1 this year, where they had been drinking amid the city's traditional celebrations.

They walked behind him down Cowley Road, where he was heading to use the public toilets in Manzil Way, and confronted him at about 8.15am.

Prosecuting, Jonathan Stone told the court: "He had a feeling he was being followed by a couple of women.

"He had some benefits money on him at the time, and they asked him for help. He refused."

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Witnesses described how they then attacked him on a footpath next to a grassy area, clambering on top of him to hold him down.

One witness statement read to the court said: "One was using the forearm to pin the side of his neck to the floor, and they were both slapping him.

"I didn't know if it was a joke - I took a photo and called the police."

Another witness said one of the women used a wine bottle to hit Mr Nolan, adding: "He was on his back and two women were grabbing his limbs as he wriggled to get away."

Police arrived and the pair were arrested not far away.

Mr Stone added: "This was a sustained assault, with a weapon used in anger."

The court heard Pecko, a mother-of-three, has appeared in court 11 times for 37 offences, including battery and shoplifting.

Defending, Peter Du Feu said Pecko had a good upbringing and was in private school until the age of 11, but starting using drugs at the age of 13 and has since become estranged from her parents.

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He said the women confronted Mr Nolan about a 'deal they had done together,' saying he had 'let them down.'

He added that the victim was not hurt during the attack and 'went on his way' afterwards.

Mr Du Feu said the last time Pecko was released from prison, having got clean inside, she was unable to find accommodation upon release.

He added: "She slept rough and ended up with her friends in the vast homeless community of Oxford."

Judge Ian Pringle sentenced Pecko to four months in prison, but as she has already served half of that awaiting her sentence, she will likely be released immediately.

He told her: "When you get out, it's going to be tough. You'll have a few days, maybe, of sleeping rough, but you must tell yourself not to fall into drug abuse again.

"Otherwise, you'll spend the rest of your adult life in and out of prison, which would be such a shame."