A former Hollywood socialite who once dated star Kevin Costner went berserk and kicked a female police officer’s leg as they tried to stop her from drunkenly smashing up her home.
San Francisco-born Birgit Cunningham, 60, who dated Costner for three years, lashed out in her London flat while shouting ‘b*******’ at the officers.
Ms Cunningham, who claimed she had an affair with married Tory Peer Lord Strathclyde, had once been a doyen of the champagne-quaffing Hollywood Brit Pack.
On Tuesday, Ms Cunningham pleaded guilty to one count of assaulting PC Alin Garbuja on July 11 this year after the drunken fracas at her council flat.
She was conditionally discharged for eighteen months and ordered to pay the officer £150 compensation.
Prosecutor Alza Rashed told the court that officers attended her address in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea at approximately 9.30pm.
‘Police were called by neighbours to reports of this defendant smashing items in her property.
‘They said she was upset because she just had her pet cat put down on advice from her vet.
‘The officers noted she was noticeably drunk at the time and called them ‘b*******’ repeatedly as she squared-up to PC Garbuja, who asked her to turn away.
‘The officer describes the defendant as being ‘aggressive’ and ‘in her face,’ and kicking her in the leg before being immediately handcuffed.
‘It was a kick of substantial force to the officer, and she also attempted to punch the officer during the struggle,’ explained the prosecutor.
‘The officer says that she received scratch marks to her right hand and was wincing in pain when contact was made to her body.’
In her victim impact statement PC Alin Garbuja said: ‘As a police officer I expect negative behaviour, but being kicked crossed the line while I was trying to help the individual.’
Cunningham’s lawyer Stuart McDonald told the court health and medication difficulties contributed to the incident.
‘She has chronic back difficulties, degenerative disc disease and her GP was trying to change her medication regime and the drug she was relying on, almost to addiction, was taken away from her.
‘She has had a long-running issue with alcohol addiction and in her youth lived what could be described a a glamorous and exciting lifestyle and has turned to alcohol for relief.’
Meanwhile, magistrates did not accept the police account of the assault and agreed there was no need for a pre-sentence report by the Probation Service.
‘We don’t agree this was substantial force or over a prolonged period of time,’ announced bench Chairman Jeffrey Manton.
Privately-educated Cunningham, who attended exclusive £13,000-a year Roedean girls’ school, is the daughter of a former Bank of America treasurer.
She was raised in a sprawling Leatherhead, Surrey country home, with summer holidays spent in luxury rented properties in the South of France.
Clothes were bought at Harrods and Cunningham has previously talked of being chauffeured to parties in a Bentley and living in a £1m Chelsea flat bought by her wealthy father.
She studied for an art degree at Rutgers College, New Jersey, worked in a Paris gallery and was then employed as a PA to the vice-president of Universal Pictures.
Problems with alcohol ended Cunnigham’s Hollywood adventure and she returned to London, immersing herself in green issues and giving birth to son Jack, 23, in 2000 following a relationship with Old Etonian racing driver Sir Harry Nuttall.
She then became a single-mum campaigner as she pursued Sir Harry for child support – resulting in an arrest for assault during a courtroom scuffle.
Mr McDonald added: ‘She declines the structured treatment of a court Alcohol Treatment Requirement because she is doing it herself.
‘I do not wish to belittle what the officer said, but this offence has all the hallmarks of lower culpability.
‘The officer says: “At some stage she kicked me in what I believe was my leg”. This is minor or non-existent force.’
The lawyer asked for leniency based on: ‘Her age, remorse in interview and her addressing the underlying cause of this. She is in receipt of state benefits.’
Cunningham’s last criminal conviction was in 2013, but details were not given.
‘You have pleaded guilty so that brings it down and we have noted your record and you are pretty much of good character,’ Mr Manton told Cunningham, who attended court with the assistance of a walking stick.
‘We are going out of the guidelines because you are already seeking help and you should continue with Alcoholics Anonymous and their twelve-step programme.
‘There is no point putting you on an alcohol programme since you are doing it yourself already.
‘If you don’t make these payments the debt collector will turn up at your door. In the nicest possible way, we hope to never see your face again.’
Source -Daily Mail
Published: 06:52 BST, 21 September 2023 | Updated: 09:08 BST, 21 September 2023 via Daily Mail
NB: No Devil’s Advocate to help this time, eh….Giovanni Di Stefano commented on twitter