Amy Winehouse today denied punching a dancer in an act of “deliberate and unjustifiable violence” at a charity ball.
The 25-year-old singer said she felt intimidated and scared by the drunken dancer Sherene Flash when she leaned over and put her arm round her while backstage at the Prince’s Trust ball in Berkeley Square, London, last September.
Winehouse would have been happy to pose for a picture with Miss Flash but had asked her to wait for a couple of minutes while she said goodbye to a friend, the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.
She denied punching Miss Flash in the face, but said: “I pushed her up, like away. I wanted her away from me.
“It was more like an indication of ’Leave me alone, I’m scared of you’.
“I meant to just get her away from me. I was scared. I thought, people are mad these days, people are just rude and mad, or people can’t handle their drink.”
Winehouse, who cracked her knuckles and sang to herself in the witness box while waiting for her cross-examination to begin, admitted she had had a “bad reaction” to the incident.
She said: “I didn’t know what she was going to do. She lunged at me and put her arm around me. She was just drunk.
“I think it was just intimidating. Suddenly, out of nowhere, she’s got her arm around me, her face next to mine, and there’s a camera in front of me.
“I think she was being overly-friendly, but that was intimidating, I was scared. I’m not Mickey Mouse, I’m a human being.”
Wearing a grey skirt suit with a brown belt over a black T-shirt, Winehouse sat cross-legged in the witness box as she gave her evidence.
She spoke quickly but appeared both confident and controlled as she described the events leading up to the alleged attack.
She told the court Miss Flash towered over her as she was two stone underweight at the time and just “five foot two and a half, or five foot three” but said: “My hair does make a difference.”
Winehouse also approached District Judge Timothy Workman to show him her flat shoes, which were similar to those she wore to the ball.
Mr Workman said he knew what flat shoes looked like, but Winehouse, lifting up her leg, said: “These are really flat. They don’t even have a sole.”
Winehouse told the court she was at the ball to support her 13-year-old goddaughter Dionne Bromfield, who was headlining in her first gig.
“It was Dionne’s night,” she said, adding that she was “so proud of her, so emotional”.
But prosecutor Lyall Thompson described the singer’s actions as “deliberate assault”.
“There was nothing accidental about Miss Winehouse’s actions. She reacted badly to a polite request,” he said.
The packed courtroom was told the incident took place in the singer’s dressing room shortly after midnight on September 26.
Miss Flash said Winehouse, who admitted having drunk champagne, vodka and white wine, was “not in a good state” when the attack happened and “looked drunk”.
“She looked maybe like she was on drugs or something.”
Miss Flash admitted she was also “tipsy” after drinking red wine, three glasses of champagne and sips from a cocktail.
She said she ushered her friend Kieran Connolly, who was also drunk, into the photograph and Winehouse struck out, leaving her crying, in shock and unable to open her right eye “for a while”.
The court also heard Miss Flash’s call to police following the alleged attack, in which the operator can be heard asking who assaulted her.
The tearful dancer replied: “Amy Winehouse of all f****** people.”
Patrick Gibbs, defending Winehouse, asked if the dancer had misread the situation.
“Even if I did it doesn’t give someone the right to punch someone in the face,” she said.
Winehouse has recently returned to the UK following an extended break in St Lucia.
She was divorced from her estranged husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, earlier this month but was referred to by her lawyer as Amy Jade Civil.
Her court appearance generated intense media interest with more than 60 photographers crammed in a press pen outside the building. She gasped when confronted with the massed ranks of waiting media as she stepped from her black people carrier this morning.
Her presence later caused mayhem outside the court as she took advantage of the lunchtime adjournment to smoke a cigarette.
Eight police officers and members of her own security team formed a protective wall around her as she was swamped by a huge crowd of press and members of the public, desperate for a glimpse of the star.
Winehouse told the court she had learned to “just deal with it, it’s life” and added: “It’s just funny that people don’t have more interesting things to do with their time than take pictures of me.”
The trial was adjourned to tomorrow.