A POLICE woman who has accused her former lover of pouring hot oil at their home in Enniskillen broke down in court as she gave evidence that she was afraid her friend would burn down her house with her and all her animals in it.
Dorianna Lehmann (49) of Dublin Road, Enniskillen denies threatening to kill Linda Totton, assaulting her causing actual bodily harm, and making threats to damage property.
In her part-heard evidence as the case opened at Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday, Ms Totton alleged that on Tuesday, September 29 last year she had been at home at Drumclay Park North with Lehmann, who she said was ill with the effects of a hangover from the previous weekend.
Explaining how Lehmann had been her former partner and was still her friend, Ms Totton said Lehmann’s girlfriend at the time, Lynn Strickland, then called around to see her, but had “left in a temper.”
After Ms Strickland left, Ms Totton said Lehmann, who she said she had ended her relationship with due to alleged domestic violence issues, had come into the kitchen where she was cooking and began shouting at her.
Stating Lehmann pushed her into a corner, pressing her back against the worktop, Ms Totton said she then started poking her in the neck and chest, and threatened to burn her house down with her and her “kids” in it, referring to her 40 birds, three cats, and dog. She said Lehmann then lifted up a frying pan she had been using, which had hot coconut oil covering its base, and threatened to pour it over her.
When she said Lehmann attempted to pour the hot oil over her, Ms Totton said she moved to protect her dog by her side. As a result, she said the oil hit her right side, on the arm, hand and leg.
Ms Totton said she then went to her room and rang a friend as she didn’t know what to do, before returning to the kitchen where Lehmann was on the phone to Ms Strickland. Ms Totton said she put the phone on speaker and asked Ms Strickland to try and calm Lehmann down.
She then returned to her bedroom, locking the door and blocking it with furniture. Ms Totton said she then called 999, as she was afraid for her life, and the operator kept her on the phone until police arrived. She said during this time Lehmann was calling to her to let her into the room.
Representing Lehmann, barrister Joe McCann said his client denied “ever having laid a hand on” Ms Totton at any time, and denied the allegations against her. He said his client would claim that on the evening in question Ms Totton had seen his client and Ms Strickland kissing and holding hands for the first time and was upset by this, which Ms Totton denied.
In cross-examination Mr McCann put it to Ms Totton that Lehmann, who was concealed in the dock by a curtain, was smaller and weaker than Ms Totton. She denied this, claiming Lehmann was proud of how fit she was and had told her in the past she was a javelin record holder in Germany.
Mr McCann also put it to Ms Totton that, as a police officer who had been in the force since 1992, was trained in restraint and arresting techniques and should have been able resist Lehmann. Ms Totton said at the time she was an ordinary civilian who was afraid for her life.
Questioning Ms Totton’s claim about oil being poured on her, Mr McCann, who also questioned why it had taken Totton a couple of hours before calling 999, asked her if she was in immediate pain afterwards.
Ms Totton said at the time she was only thinking of escaping, and did not notice her injuries until several hours later when she was removing her t-shirt, which stuck to her wound where the oil had soaked through her clothing. She said she visited the police doctor the next day and had gone to her GP to get the wound dressed.
The barrister then asked why, when the case had been set for contest at the court in August past, Ms Totton had rang victim support to request the PSNI’s Tactical Support Group (TSG) be present in the court. She explained it was because Lehmann had told her she was the daughter of the king of the German gypsies, known as the Sinti, and she’d had threats from her family.
The case was adjourned until next Monday, when Mr McCann will continue his cross examination of Ms Totton.
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