A woman from Australia's Gold Coast who was inspired by Oscar-winning film Braveheart when she drunkenly chased her neighbours with a sword, has faced court and been given back her freedom. Simone Nicole Bruce, 44, had been drinking wine and watching the Mel Gibson blockbuster at her Chevron Island home when she decided to pull out a sword and practice her fighting skills in the street. Frightened neighbours called police and in the Southport Magistrates Court on Tuesday the stay-at-home mum pleaded guilty to going armed to cause fear.
In sentencing, Southport magistrate Michael Hogan decided he would take her plea but not her freedom, granting her 18 months probation. The prosecutor, tongue firmly in cheek, asked the court to add a probation condition that she refrain from watching other violent films. "Your honour, I would make an application that she does not watch Kill Bill," Sergeant Michael Campbell said. Barrister Chris Rosser explained that Bruce believed she was distantly related to a supporting character in the film, the future King of Scots, Robert the Bruce, and had been inspired by his brave rebellion against the corrupt English monarchy.
"This may sound ridiculous but she was watching Braveheart the movie and got into the swing of things," he said. "She said she got well involved, picked up her son's sword and went on the driveway swinging the sword around, reliving the movie. It goes without saying that alcohol was behind all of this." Her neighbours arrived home in their car at about 8.30pm to find the armed woman in the middle of the road and called police. But as they drove away she chased them and struck the car with the sword on the back quarter panel.
Mr Rosser said the mother-of-two had Aspergers' symptoms and alcohol issues but had since sworn off alcohol and resolved issues with her medication. "She's so upset that she allowed herself to do this," he said. Magistrate Hogan accepted she was seeking treatment for her problems. "This is somewhat bizarre behaviour," he said. "I must say that it seems to me that the community would be best protected from you if you addressed your underlying issues." The magistrate did order an extra probation condition requiring her to not consume alcohol and submit to random testing.