Actor in Wonder Woman costume in ‘karaoke bar fight with her fiancée’

Joanna Downing (R) wore a Bat Girl costume and Miriam Ahmed (L) was Wonder Woman for a ‘hag do’ at Karaoke Box in Farringdon  (Tristan Kirk)
Joanna Downing (R) wore a Bat Girl costume and Miriam Ahmed (L) was Wonder Woman for a ‘hag do’ at Karaoke Box in Farringdon (Tristan Kirk)

A couple dressed as Bat Girl and Wonder Woman got into a fight at a karaoke bar when a row over a “poke” descended into violence, a court heard.

Joanna Downing, 39, and Miriam Ahmed, 38, who has made appearances as an actress on Coronation Street, Holby City and Skins, wore superhero costumes for a day out with friends to celebrate their forthcoming marriage, and ended the evening at Karaoke Box in Farringdon.

But their day concluded with police being called to a fight in one of the singing booths, Southwark crown court heard. Downing, dressed as Bat Girl, is accused of grabbing Lucy Ratcliff by the throat and pulling her hair, while her now-wife Ahmed — in a Wonder Woman costume — is accused of throwing a series of punches.

Jurors heard the couple had spent the day on July 24, 2021 playing drinking games with friends at the Sky Bar in east London on a “hag do”.

Downing says the day was soured at the karaoke bar. Ahmed’s sister Yasmeen was allegedly poked in the chest and flicked on the nose by a man who laughed and walked away. They pursued him to another karaoke booth to demand an apology, jurors heard.

Catherine White, who was in the booth as part of a birthday celebration, told the court: “It looked like they charged in and a melee started. People in my group were being shoved.”

Another of the group, Juul Temminck, said he saw three women “storm” their room and start to attack his friend, Ms Ratcliff. “It seemed very angry and very aggressive,” he said. “I remember my friend being attacked on the sofa.”

Another in the birthday group, Zhana Yankova, said they had just begun selecting songs when there was commotion at the door and the women in fancy dress entered their booth. “They became quite aggressive towards a couple of the people from our group,” she said. “There was some pushing and one of the girls started grabbing a friend’s hair, going for her throat.”

She said a glass was smashed, and she accused Downing of lunging at her friend Ms Ratcliff who was “trying to defend herself”. The court heard Downing and Ahmed left the booth, which was then barricaded shut by members of the other party as the row continued and police were called.

Downing, in her police interview, said the incident started when the man “approached us and poked [Yasmeen] hard in the chest”. In the ensuing confrontation, she said a woman stood in front of her and accused her of starting the fight with a shove. “I thought I was going to go over,” Downing said. “I felt like I was being pulled into the room. I held onto her for dear life because my hair was being pulled. I was petrified of getting beaten up or kicked.”

Ahmed is accused of grabbing a woman’s hair, throwing punches, and hitting a man in the face. She described the incident to police as “bedlam”, and insisted she was trying to defend Downing. Ahmed and Downing, who live in Hornchurch, both deny affray. The trial continues.