A FORMER care assistant has been jailed for 20 months after punching a woman and pulling off her hijab in a racially aggravated assault in Bradford’s Kirkgate Market.

Ellie Burns attacked two female shoppers on April 29 after they complained that a song she was singing was racist.

Burns spat at the first victim and pulled her hair, as well as punching her and pulling off her hijab.

A second young woman was slapped and pushed over, prosecutor Giles Bridge told Bradford Crown Court.

He said both women were left deeply distressed by the incident.

Burns then assaulted a police officer called to the scene by scratching and nipping him.

Burns, 21, of Roundwood Glen, Ravenscliffe, Bradford, committed the offences 25 days after receiving a suspended prison sentence for vodka and cocaine-fuelled attacks on a taxi driver and five police officers.

She was bailed and on June 28, she assaulted two police officers called to an incident in Ravenscliffe just after 9.30pm. She spat at an officer and kicked a police vehicle door, slamming it on another officer’s legs.

On bail again, Burns committed a third set of offences on July 10 and 11 by assaulting three more police officers following a fight in Valley Road, Shipley.

Burns became aggressive at the scene, trying to open the door of a police vehicle to let out a man who had been detained. She kicked and punched arresting officers and threatened to break an officer’s nose with her handcuffs.

Burns pleaded guilty to two offences of racially aggravated common assault and six offences of assaulting a police officer. On April 4, she was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, for a racially aggravated assault on a taxi driver, racially aggravated harassment, theft and assaulting five police officers, in April and January last year.

The court heard that Burns hurled racist abuse at the taxi driver and punched him in the face, causing bruising and a cut to his eye.

When the police arrived, she struggled during arrest causing a cut to an officer’s finger. Back at the station, the officer was kicked and spat at, and Burns threatened to bite his nose.

Three months earlier, Burns stole a packet of cigarettes from a petrol station in Killinghall Road, Bradford. When the police arrived to arrest her, she pulled over a sweet display, smashed a bottle and kicked an officer.

Days later, she elbowed an officer in the chest, attempted to headbutt another and spat in one’s face.

In July this year, Burns was remanded in custody and probation and psychiatric reports were prepared.

Her barrister, Camille Morland, conceded that she was not suffering from a mental illness but said that she had suffered serious emotional trauma.

She was left with issues of substance misuse and aggression following an abusive relationship when she was introduced to Class A drugs and alcohol.

Burns had conducted herself well in her role as a care assistant, dealing capably with very challenging situations.

“When sober and calm, she is insightful and thoughtful; when she is intoxicated, it is another story,” Miss Morland said.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, told Burns: “Life hasn’t been at all easy for you.”

But she had breached the suspended sentence order “conclusively, in a very effective way.”

Just 25 days after receiving it, Burns had carried out racially aggravated assaults on two Asian ladies who took exception to her behaviour. One had been spat at and punched and had her hijab pulled off. Both were left deeply distressed. Burns went on to assault police officers in two separate incidents.

“How can I overlook a flagrant breach of a suspended sentence?” Judge Durham Hall asked.

He activated ten months of the suspended sentence and jailed Burns for a total of ten months for the new offences, the sentences to run consecutively.