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Former zookeeper cleared of assault in zoo love triangle spat

Meerkat expert Caroline Westlake leaves Westminster Magistrates Court after being sentenced to 80 hours community service for glassing a love-rival, in London, Wednesday Oct. 14, 2015. The High Court said on Tuesday Feb. 23, 2016 that magistrates had applied the wrong legal test for recklessness and quashed he conviction.
Meerkat expert Caroline Westlake leaves Westminster Magistrates Court after being sentenced to 80 hours community service for glassing a love-rival, in London, Wednesday Oct. 14, 2015. The High Court said on Tuesday Feb. 23, 2016 that magistrates had applied the wrong legal test for recklessness and quashed he conviction. John Stillwell/PA via AP

LONDON — A former meerkat expert at London Zoo has been cleared of assaulting a monkey handler in a love spat over a llama-keeper.

Two High Court judges said Tuesday that Caroline Westlake had not “recklessly” injured Kate Sanders.

In October a lower court found 30-year-old Westlake guilty of assaulting Sanders, who suffered a cut cheek from a wineglass after the two women argued at a zoo Christmas party in 2014. Both had dated colleague Adam Davies.

The High Court said Tuesday that magistrates had applied the wrong legal test for recklessness and quashed he conviction.

Westlake was fired by the zoo after the incident. Her lawyer, Suzanne Kelly, said Tuesday that “Ms. Westlake’s life has been destroyed by something that was no more than an unfortunate accident.”

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