Singer Winehouse in court over 'fan attack'

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Jul 23, 2009 at 1:12 PM EDT

British singer Amy Winehouse launched an "unjustifiable" attack on a female fan who politely asked her for a photograph at a charity ball, a court heard on Thursday.

The 25-year-old songstress -- said to be on the road to recovery from her drug addiction -- denies assaulting Sherene Flash, a dancer, in an incident in Berkeley Square, central London, last September.

"I didn't know what she was going to do. She lunged at me and put her arm around me," said Winehouse, adding: "I think she was being overly friendly, but that was intimidating, I was scared.

"She's a big girl. She was just being overly presumptuous.

"I'm not Mickey Mouse, I'm a human being."

Wearing a smart grey suit, the "Back to Black" singer cracked her knuckles and sang to herself in the witness box, before giving her testimony at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Prosecutor Lyall Thompson said Winehouse seemed to be under the influence of alcohol or "some other substance" when she struck Flash in a dressing room at the event shortly after midnight.

Flash was taking a photograph of Winehouse when a drunken friend of the dancer, Kieran Connelly, tried to get into the picture. At this point the singer punched Flash to her right eye, Thompson said.

"She reacted badly to a polite request," he said, adding that the singer used "deliberate and unjustifiable violence."

Flash herself said Winehouse was "not in a good state" when the alleged assault occurred.

"She looked drunk. She looked maybe like she was on drugs or something," she said, while admitting that she was also "tipsy" at the time.

Describing the moment she was hit, she said: "She punched forcefully in my right eye. I started crying. I was shocked. I couldn't open my eye for a while. I was just mainly in shock."

Winehouse said she felt intimidated in particular because she was shorter than Flash. She said she was only about five feet three inches tall, adding: "My hair does make a difference."

She also denied that she was overly sensitive about her dressing room, saying: "I'm not like that. I'm not a Jennifer Lopez, paint the room white before I get there and I want five bunches of lilies."

Winehouse won five Grammy awards off the back of her 2006 second album "Back to Black" and the hit single "Rehab", but has since been engaged in a well-documented struggle with drugs.

Her mother Janis said earlier this week that she was feeling better after an eight-month stay in the Caribbean, telling a magazine that the singer "looks better than she has in a long time."

Last week she was granted a "quickie" divorce from her estranged husband Blake Fielder-Civil after two years of marriage, on the grounds of her adultery.

Winehouse said she was used to people approaching her, and had no problem with it. "If someone's nice it's not a demand on my time, it's just nice to meet a nice person," she said.

The singer was philosophical about the constant media interest in her -- during a lunchtime break a scrum of up to 60 photographers jostled to get pictures of her having a cigarette.

"It's just funny that people don't have more interesting things to do with their time than take pictures of me," she said.




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