Sonya Wadsworth, 41, made Tyson sink teeth into Varun Ditta’s leg while saying ‘Haha you can’t do anything to me, p**i go home’
A woman used her dog as a “weapon” to maul an Asian shopkeeper in a racist incident after she was accused of shoplifting at his grocery store.
Sonya Wadsworth, 41, was convicted at Manchester Magistrates Court of racially aggravated common assault, racially aggravated harassment and having a dog dangerously out of control.
The court heard Wadsworth had deliberately let her Staffordshire Terrier off the lead and encouraged it to bite Varun ‘Jimmy’ Ditta when she was confronted for putting children’s sweets in her coat pocket.
The animal, named ‘Tyson’, sank its teeth into Mr Ditta’s thigh as Wadsworth laughed and said: “Haha you can’t do anything to me. My dog will bite you, p**i. Go home.”
She also called him a “p**i bastard,” manhandled Mr Diitta’s work colleague and said: “What are you doing here? Go back to your own country.”
Mr Ditta was wearing thick jeans but suffered bite marks on his left leg as a result of the attack
Later when asked about the attack Wadsworth, from Wythenshawe, Manchester, claimed the animal was acting in “self defence” and added: “My dog was just scared at seeing his mummy assaulted.”
It is believed the dog has died since the attack which took place on the afternoon of August 28, 2018.
The 3pm incident occurred when Mr Ditta and his colleague Mansoor ‘Max’ Wahid who were working at the Around A Pound Plus store in Wythenshawe.
Mr Ditta told of overhearing Mr Wahid and Sonya arguing over the shoplifting accusation.
“When I heard this I came toward them and asked what happened but she was using abusive language to Max. She was saying “you are a p**i. What are you doing here? Go back to your own country,” Mr Ditta told the court.
He said Wadsworth took items out of her pocket and then threw some, including children’s sweets on the floor.
“She was being very aggressive and using abusive words and calling us ‘p**is’. Max kept saying ‘stop this Sonya. I don’t need a fight with you. Just go home now.’
Mr Ditta said she grabbed his colleague by his collar and began pushing him.
She then unleashed her dog from where he was tied to a pole outside the shop.
Mr Ditta said: “The dog was definitely trained and she was holding the lead of the dog and using it as a weapon.”
He described it as “aggressive,” telling the court how customers had previously complained about it.
“This was a dangerous dog and it was making me and Max feel that it was about to attack. Sonya was laughing and encouraging the dog to bite me.
Mr Ditta said she let the dog loose in the shop and it bit him on the thigh.
“I was wearing thick jeans and I still got a deep bite mark from it. I was outside the shop asking her to go home. She was drunk that day and I just wanted her to leave.
She was laughing “Haha, you can’t do anything to me my dog will bite you – p**i go home.’
“I was just thinking why is she doing this. It made me upset and fearful.”
Mr Wahid told the hearing she had begun shouting him after he accused her of shoplifting and said he would call the police.
“She began shouting ‘go back where you came from – where do you come from?’. She was being argumentative and kept saying: ‘You people’.”
Mr Wahid said he picked up a basket to defend himself when he saw her go to get the dog, describing Wadsworth as using the animal as a weapon.
“She set the dog on Jimmy and called him a ‘p**i b*****d’.”
Wadsworth denied wrongdoing.
She told the court: “I go every day to that shop and support my local businesses but the owner has never liked me.
“I’m always polite and courteous and I’ve never shoplifted a day in my life.
“On that day I go in and the shopkeeper says ‘I don’t like you. I don’t like your dog. I don’t serve you. I don’t like you at all’ and I said ‘well I don’t particularly like you either but you don’t need to like customers you just take their money.’
“I mean that’s not very good business acumen is it. I asked ‘what’s the problem, what have I done.’
“I’d already put the toffees in my pocket by that time and tried to hand them a tenner. I even said ‘okay look just take the tenner and I will come back to get change later’ but he just kept saying no.
“I was being diplomatic. I’ve been going there for two years. This was embarrassing for me as well and people were in the shop. I was very resentful at being treated like this and I picked up the toffees and threw them.”
She clamed Mr Wahid had grabbed and shoved her, then hit her with a mop handle.
She said she got her dog from outside because it was acting defensively, and claims the shopkeepers hit and booted the animal.
“I thought I pulled him back just in time but now I realise he must’ve bitten Jimmy. My dog was really scared and anxious though that’s how all dogs would react.
“I’m a responsible citizen. I’ve taught my dog right and I was actually proud of him that he initially tried to stop himself reacting. They’ve come towards him and he’s been defensive not aggressive.
“I didn’t use racist language at all. I never would and I did not tell my dog to attack on command. The dog was using self defence.
“I’m a diplomatic person. Very politically correct. Very polite. Very intelligent. They are all liars. I was forced into this situation. I did not use my dog as a weapon – my dog was just scared at seeing his mummy assaulted.”
Wadsworth will be sentenced later this month and was bailed pending the preparation of reports.