Meerkat expert cleared of glassing monkey handler at London Zoo Christmas party

Caroline Westlake has been cleared of glassed Kate Sanders (Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

Caroline Westlake has been cleared of glassed Kate Sanders (Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire) - Credit: (Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

A meerkat expert accused of striking a monkey handler with a wine glass in a heated row at a London Zoo Christmas party has been cleared of assault by High Court judges.

Caroline Westlake, 30, had previously been convicted of “recklessly but not intentionally” causing a 1cm wound - which needed three stitches - on the cheek of Kate Sanders after she criticised her looks.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court found Miss Westlake guilty of assault by beating after hearing that the women had both been romantically involved with zoo keeper Adam Davies - who had dated Ms Sanders for five years before starting a relationship with Ms Westlake.

But Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Nicol ruled the magistrates applied the wrong legal test for recklessness and quashed the conviction.

Later, Ms Westlake’s legal representative, Suzanne Kelly of Venters Solicitors, said: “Ms Westlake’s life has been destroyed by something that was no more than an unfortunate accident.

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“In particular Ms Westlake was unfairly dismissed from her position as zoo keeper at ZSL London Zoo and has suffered significant psychological harm.”

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