“Get away from me.”
A woman told a court last week that she tasered an autistic man because she thought he was staring at her breasts.
Hollie Baker, 29, electrocuted the unsuspecting man, 42-year-old Lee Pearson, and allegedly ran off laughing as he writhed on the ground, the UK Maidstone Crown Court heard Wednesday.
Baker was sentenced to 16 months in jail after having pleaded guilty to assault by beating and possession of an electrical incapacitating device.
In her defense, Baker said that beyond ogling her chest, she felt that Pearson was standing too close to her.
“I asked him to move back many times,” she said, in an account presented to the court. “He was looking at my breasts quite a lot. I jabbed him in the side and said, ‘Get away from me.’”
Pearson offered a very different take, saying he had thought they were having a personal chat when Baker zapped him in the back with a taser. He said he considered her and her boyfriend friends, and that he had not looked at her breasts or meant to make her uncomfortable.
“No, I was looking at her hair. I didn’t look at her in a sexual way,” he said.
“Wasn’t standing close to her. I was talking to her about my Asperger’s syndrome. The next thing I knew she tasered me on the back. I was terrified. I ran down the road and called the police.”
Pearson explained that he had been on his way to the local library at the time. He and Baker live in the same part of Maidstone, England, and had known each other for a year.
He acknowledged, though, that his Asperger’s syndrome sometimes causes him to unwittingly stand close to people in conversation and fix his eyes on them.
The prosecution accused Baker of being a bully who had just gotten “a new toy” and of wanting to “have a go at” Pearson even though she knew he was vulnerable.
For her part, Baker denied that she had known about Pearson’s syndrome, and explained that she had acquired the illegal taser for protection on her late night dog walks. Her version of events concluded with her rushing home to her boyfriend in despair.
“I ran home in tears to my partner,” she said. “It was ‘Oh my god, what have I done?’”
Baker’s lawyers also tried to excuse her behavior by saying that she has mental disorders of her own – bipolar and schizophrenia – and that she had to take prescription drugs to sleep.
While the #MeToo movement has increased awareness of male sexual misconduct, some have argued that men are being excessively vilified even as women get a relative pass. In the US justice system, woman often get off with much lighter sentences than men for similar crimes.