A judge told an "immature" young woman to choose her lovers wisely after she was spared jail for offering to pay a couple hundreds of pounds if they deliberately failed to pick her knife-wielding boyfriend out of an identity parade.

Micha McCafferty had clasped her hands in front of her face and sobbed as she watched her partner, Thomas Britzman, receive a jail term of two years and four months from Judge Heather Norton.

READ THE FULL STORY: Thatcham pub attack: Newbury man at Reading Crown Court

The 20-year-old woman was stood in the dock next to Britzman, 25, herself facing jail because she tried to sabotage the police investigation which was launched after Britzman - who had 12 convictions for offences including assaulting a police officer and causing grievous bodily harm - hurled a glass at a nightclub manager and threatened a couple with a meat cleaver.

McCafferty's anguish turned into relief when Judge Norton decided her jail term for perverting the course of justice would be suspended, having heard how McCafferty was an intelligent woman of good character, who had worked since leaving school, was from a respectable background and had a professional qualification in childcare.

Although she was free to leave the dock, McCafferty stayed to kiss Britzman until Judge Norton ordered him to follow the dock officer down into the cells beneath Reading Crown Court.

After a considerable pause, in which Judge Norton watched McCafferty sitting and looking down at the floor of the dock, the judge decided to give the young woman some advice.

Judge Norton said to her: "Miss McCafferty, from the reports I have read, I am told you are an intelligent young lady.

"Intelligence includes choosing friends wisely, including lovers."

McCafferty's lover had been arrested following a night out on November 24 last year, prosecutor Shaun Esprit had told the court, in which he attacked Piero Pagliarol, the owner and manager of Paggies Wine Bar in Thatcham, with a glass, a wine bottle and a plank of wood.

Britzman was then seen to pick up an empty three-foot Co2 cannister, the court heard, which he hurled across the bar's smoking area, shattering glasses, before fleeing the scene.

Mr Esprit said Britzman later approached a couple - Josh Rampton and Bethany Pease - who were sat in their car at 1am in the Thatcham Memorial Hall car park and produced a meat cleaver, which he waved in front of Mr Rampton's face before grabbing him around the throat and punching him in the eye.

Later the following afternoon, after Britzman had been arrested and his abandoned meat cleaver had been recovered by police, Ms Peace received a Facebook message out of the blue, the court heard, from McCafferty, who she had been at school with.

It said: "Hi, have you been in Thatcham recently? Give me a phone call and I can explain why. Nothing bad hun."

Mr Esprit said: "She [McCafferty] went on to say they would pay both of them a couple of hundred pounds each in order to fail to make an identification at the impending police ID parade. The offer was refused."

The defendant sent a further message saying: "Can we speak on the phone one more time? Please, it is for your sake too."

Mr Rampton had contacted McCafferty, saying: "Please stop contacting Beth.

"She's not interested and you'll get yourself into trouble with police also by getting yourself involved."

McCafferty and Britzman had both admitted their offences, the prosecutor added.

Defending McCafferty, Steve Molloy said the young woman had been shocked when he had told her perverting the course of justice would almost certainly receive a custodial sentence and put her crime down to "immaturity".

The lawyer told how McCafferty had obtained an NVQ in childcare and now worked in customer service at a telecommunications company where she had undertaken courses in being a fire marshall and first-aid training.

She was the primary bread winner in her home as both her parents were on extended sick leave, he said.

Mr Molloy added: "Her primary concern is not for herself, but for her parents, who depend on her and depend on her income.

"Appearing in court today, for someone with no previous convictions, is a real source of shame to her and her family because she is, in effect, from a respectable background. The fact that she loses her good name, she loses the prospect of ever working in childcare again."

Judge Norton sentenced Britzman, of Avon Way, Newbury, to 28 months in prison for affray, two counts of assault and threatening with a blade.

The judge sentenced McCafferty, of Sterling Way, Thatcham, to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months and gave her 200 hours unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Judge Norton said: "You were in a relationship with Mr Britzman and, no doubt, it was because of that and also because of what has been described as your immaturity and, frankly, stupidity, that you acted in the way that you did."