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Winehouse denies assault, says "scared"

 British singer Amy Winehouse arrives at Westminster Magistrates Court in central London July 23, 2009. Winehouse arrived at a London court on Thursday to face a charge of assaulting a woman after a charity ball last year. REUTERS/Toby Melville - Reuters
British singer Amy Winehouse arrives at Westminster Magistrates Court in central London July 23, 2009. Winehouse arrived at a London court on Thursday to face a charge of assaulting a woman after a charity ball last year. REUTERS/Toby Melville
— image credit: Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - British singer Amy Winehouse told a court on Thursday that she pushed a woman after a charity ball last September because she had been scared of her, but denied punching dancer Sherene Flash in the face.

Flash has accused the 25-year-old star of punching her in the eye after she had asked the Grammy winner to pose for a photograph.

"She (Flash) moved her left arm to lean down to me and tried to pose next to me," Winehouse told the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, where she appeared in a grey suit and wearing her hair in her trademark beehive style.

"Her friend came round in front of us and started taking a picture," the Press Association quoted her as saying.

"I was like, 'Do I get a choice in this, hello?' 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."

Flash said earlier that Winehouse appeared to be drunk or under the influence of drugs when the incident occurred.

Flash admitted she had had several alcoholic drinks that evening but denied being drunk. She said Winehouse "punched forcefully in my right eye," adding that she was shocked and began to cry.

Her lawyer added: "This was a deliberate assault by Miss Winehouse. There was nothing accidental about Miss Winehouse's actions."

The singer won five Grammy awards in 2008 and her album "Back to Black" won widespread critical acclaim. But her private life, including a battle against drug addiction, has overshadowed her recording success.

In March, Winehouse was unable to get a U.S. work visa to perform at April's Coachella festival in California because of the assault charge. Earlier this month, she ended her two-year marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil.

The case continues.

(Writing by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison)

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