A Woonona mother facing jail time for the "appalling" bashing of another woman in front of shocked onlookers in the Crown Street Mall has been given a last-minute chance to avoid custody.
Cheyeanne Murray, 29, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm after carrying out the punishing attack on the woman on the morning of July 2 this year, leaving her bruised and battered.
During a sentencing hearing in Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday, Magistrate Susan McGowan said the threshold for imposing a jail sentence had not just been been crossed, it had "well and truly been leapt over".
However, she noted Murray had been assessed as unsuitable to perform community service work as her punishment, meaning any alternative sentence to full-time jail was off the cards.
Defence lawyer Lemar Miakhel said Murray was the primary carer for her 15-month-old daughter and needed to remain in the community to continue looking after her.
Murray put her head in her hands and began to sob when Magistrate McGowan chastised her thoughtless behaviour.
"Who was looking after your daughter when this happened? she asked.
"What thought was given to the child then?"
Mr Miakhel sought a home detention order however Magistrate McGowan rejected such a sentence and ordered Murray to undergo a further assessment for community service work if she wanted to avoid time behind bars.
Police facts sheets tendered to the court reveal Murray and the victim had known each other for a year and had a history of runs-ins, however the victim "at not time provoked the situation nor wanted physical contact with [Murray]" that day.
The court heard Murray saw the woman in the mall and followed her into Globe Lane before throwing a coffee cup at her.
The victim tried to run away but Murray pushed her into a garden bed and began hitting her and calling her a "slut".
The victim replied "I didn't want to do what he made me do" while trying to block the punched.
Court documents said CCTV footage of the assault showed witnesses had tried to separate the pair prior to the arrival of security staff but Murray had "brushed them off".
Murray left the location before police arrived. She was arrested two weeks later.
When interviewed, Murray denied the assault had taken place, however also said "when it went down" when referring to the incident.
The case was adjourned for sentencing next Tuesday for Community Corrections staff to prepare an updated report.