Woman sentenced after Aldi bottle smashing spree

The scene at Aldi in Fairlands Way, Stevenage, on November 25 last year

The scene at Aldi in Fairlands Way, Stevenage, on November 25, 2020. - Credit: Supplied

A Stevenage woman who destroyed £10,000 worth of bottles of alcohol at Aldi - and racially abused a hospital security guard - has been sentenced. 

Barbara Stange-Alvarez, of Swingate, appeared St Albans Magistrates' Court for sentencing yesterday, having changed her plea to guilty last month. 

Video footage showed the 36-year-old sweeping hundreds of bottles from the shelves onto the the floor of the Fairlands Way supermarket in 2020.

She admitted criminal damage, racially aggravated common assault and a racially aggravated public order offence - in which she hurled insults at a security guard at the hospital where she had been taken for treatment to her hand.

Prosecutor Clinton Hadgill told the court: “She made her way directly to the aisle where the alcohol is and proceeded to drag hundreds of bottles of alcohol off the shelf."

He added that 90 seconds into her wrecking spree, the defendant slipped and fell onto the broken glass, cutting her right hand. Officers took her to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage where she kicked a security guard in the shin and hurled racial insults at him.

The court heard that In an interview she said she felt she was suffering from mental health issues and she was not receiving the treatment she thought she should have been.

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That day she said she had visited a local mental health clinic seeking help for her mental state, but was unhappy at the response she got and “lost the plot.”

Stange-Alvarez, who represented herself in court, said she had been unable to work during 2020 adding: “I struggled because I was unemployed.”

District Judge Margaret Dodd told her “lots of people” had been in a similar predicament during the year.

Stange- Alvarez went on: “Loads of things affected me and I was not able to get the treatment.”

She told the judge: “It won’t happen again” and she said the medication she was now on had resulted in her being more “stabilised.”

Passing sentence District Judge Dodd said she could give her credit for her guilty plea and noted she had not been in trouble before.

The judge told her “You weren’t well at the time” but she said many other people had also been out of work and furloughed at the time and had not behaved in such a way.

She told Stange-Alvarez her behaviour towards the hospital security guard had been “upsetting and hurtful.”

He had simply been trying to do his job, only to find himself sworn at and assaulted, said the judge.

She was given a 12-week sentence suspended for 18 months. She was also made the subject of a Mental Health Treatment Requirement as well as Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, during which she will work with probation staff.

Stange-Alvarez must also pay Aldi £5,000 in compensation and court costs of £85.