A MOTHER-of-two punched another mum and bust her lip in front of sobbing child-ren at the gates of a Rossendale primary school, a court heard.

Charlotte Baldwin, 25, left Kelly Hodgkinson bleeding and shocked after the violence at Holy Trinity CE Primary School, in Booth Road, Stacksteads.

The victim, who had just dropped off her youngsters, was confronted by her screaming and shouting attacker as she was leaving the premises, and Baldwin was going in, just before 9am.

Baldwin, Burnley magistrates were told, was said to have gone to challenge Ms Hodgkinson after a ‘completely unfounded’ theft accusation against her boyfriend had been put on Facebook ‘for all the world to see’.

Baldwin, who has never been in trouble before, adm-itted assault by beating, on February 11. Baldwin, then living in Cutler Lane, Stacksteads, was given a 12-month conditional discharge, and must pay £50 compensation, £85 costs, and a £15 victim surcharge.

Bench chairman Jack Paley told Baldwin: “What is of most concern to the court is the location of the incident and the presence of children. They should not have to witness confrontations of any sort, let alone witness an assault.

“We realise there was a degree of provocation, and you are remorseful.”

Parveen Akhtar, prosecut-ing, said money had gone missing from Ms Hodgkin-son’s sister and rumours started. The victim was walking out of the school when Baldwin went ‘in her face’ and shouted: “What’s this you have been spreading rumours about me?”

Ms Hodgkinson stepped back, pushed her away and Bald-win was aggressive and hit her in the face. Her lip started bleeding, and Baldwin was still screaming at her.

The victim told police: “I was shocked. It was the last thing I expected to happen as I was taking the children to school. I didn’t retaliate. All I did was push her away from me.”

David Leach, defending, said Baldwin, who is on ben-efits, never intended to come to physical blows. It was out of character. He said a completely unfounded accusation about her boyfriend had been made in Facebook messages.

“It was fabricated. Noth-ing ever came of it. Her boy-friend was never arrested. It should never have appeared on a public site,” added Mr Leach.