London Zoo meerkat keeper found guilty of glassing monkey keeper



London zoo meerkat keeper Caroline Westlake guilty of glassing monkey keeper over llama keeper

A former London Zoo keeper has been found guilty of assaulting a fellow worker in a 'love spat' over the zoo's llama keeper.

Meerkat keeper Caroline Westlake, 30, reportedly hit Kate Sanders, 30, a monkey keeper, in the face with a wine glass at London Zoo's Christmas party on 8 December 2014.

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Tensions were running high between the pair over llama keeper Adam Davies, who had dated Ms Sanders for five years before beginning a relationship with Ms Westlake.

London zoo meerkat keeper Caroline Westlake guilty of glassing monkey keeper over llama keeper

Ms Westlake said Ms Sanders punched her and she then accidentally hit her with the glass. She said the argument started after Ms Sanders came over to apologise for that fact Ms Westlake overheard her talking negatively about her in the toilet.

When Ms Westlake asked what she had done wrong, Miss Sanders allegedly said: "You are dating my ex-boyfriend."

AGet Surrey report says that the women began screaming insults at each other before Miss Sanders (pictured below) punched her in the face.

Her statement read: "She punched me to the side of the face which threw me off balance.

"I was confused after being hit, I was waving my hands around trying to get her off me.

"I don't recall having a glass in my hand at this point. I don't know when or where Kate was injured. I do know that I didn't intend to hit Kate at all.

"I think it happened so quickly I didn't have time to think, I was just trying to protect myself. She was trying to strangle me, I was pulling at Kate's hands."

London zoo meerkat keeper Caroline Westlake guilty of glassing monkey keeper over llama keeper

According to the Civil Society, Ms Westlake was sacked from London Zoo following the incident. She has since taken the charity to an employment tribunal, claiming she was dismissed unfairly.

The tribunal case was heard earlier this year and has reserved its judgement.

Ms Sanders was given a final written warning and banned from attending ZSL events.

Ms Westlake will be sentenced next month, but her lawyer said they would be appealing the guilty verdict, insisting: "The defendant does not dispute the injury came from the glass in her hand, but she does dispute it was an intentional blow.

"The bench found the charges proven, they said it was not intentional but it was reckless by virtue of having a glass in her hand.

"It is my view the bench was wrong in its interpretation of the law and recklessness. For that reason, we will be appealing."

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