Petite B.C. woman lionized in Brit press for thrashing U.K. soldiers
By Peter O'Neil, Europe Correspondent, Canwest News ServiceSeptember 24, 2009
BUDAPEST — Canadian Ashley Wolfe said Thursday she's proud of her performance in a bloody melee with burly British soldiers and insists she's a victim who shouldn't have been convicted last week on assault charges.
Wolfe, a 24-year-old who stands only five-foot-three and weighs 125 pounds, has been dubbed "Glambo" by British newspapers feasting on the story of a beautiful, petite young Canadian who punched out members of Britain's oldest army regiment while clad in a sexy red dress.
She said the witnesses at her trial last week incorrectly portrayed her as an aggressor who threw the initial punches at one soldier and the wife of another.
Wolfe, who said she was unable to attend the trial because of a bad flu, insists she was the one who was first slugged in the face and knocked down. Lawyers for the Canadian couple are seeking a new trial.
"I'm very proud of myself that I could get knocked down and get back up and knock a guy out with one punch," she told Canwest News Service in an interview in the couple's apartment here, miming her nasty left hook.
Ashley Wolfe, born and raised in Abbotsford in B.C.'s Fraser Valley, sat demurely in the couple's sparsely-furnished apartment in a gritty building in Hungary's capital. She appeared happy to let her husband Bill, 54, deal with most questions.
The couple came here after he accepted a contract to instruct the Hungarian army and police force on a brutal self-defence technique known as Defendo, which involves techniques like eye-gouging, leg-breaking and groin-kneeing.
Bill, who taught Defendo during a long career in both the Canadian military and for 14 years as a policeman in B.C., plans to stay in Europe until the court case in London is resolved. Ashley met her husband while taking fitness classes at an Abbotsford gym where Bill occasionally showed up as a self-defence instructor.
They were married four years ago, and she said their vast age difference — he has a daughter a year older than his wife — wasn't a deterrent.
"I was just attracted to him. He's a real man," said Ashley, who speaks with a barely-audible, girlish voice and could easily pass for a young woman in her late teens.
"He's not a sissy like the rest of the guys my age."
But Ashley insisted she harbours no hostility towards gay men, and was angered on the dance floor only because the soldiers were acting in a "perverted" fashion and obnoxiously urging her to take part.
She said the men were grinding against each others' bodies, and trying to entice her to join them while Britney Spears' Womanizer played on the audio system.
The soldiers were apparently unaware that Bill, a guest at the Christmas party because he was teaching a one-week course to other members of the regiment, was her husband — and equipped with deadly fighting skills.
Bill said he initially tried to play a peacemaker role that came naturally as a former policeman. He said younger men who flirt with his wife typically assume he's her father.
They both agreed with the soldiers' testimony that the physical altercation began when she shoved one of the Guardsmen on the dance floor.
While what happened after that is disputed, no evidence conflicts with Bill's statement that he was jumped by several men and then had the end of his nose bitten off.
"Only Steven Seagal in the movies can handle that many men," said Wolfe, who stands five-foot-eight and weighs 180 pounds.
He said he was proud of his wife's actions in the face of inappropriate behaviour on the dance floor, saying she was following Defendo training which stresses that women shouldn't put up with sexual harassment.
He also suggested that the Guardsmens' wives were jealous.
"Let's face it, she was the hottest chick at the party," he said. "The guardsmen were all ga-ga, so every woman in the place . . . they didn't like it."
The party took place at the southeast London barracks of Her Majesty's Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards.
The regiment, more commonly known as the Coldstream Guards or the "Lilywhites," is one of the highest-profile regiments of the British Army, due to their ceremonial role during the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.
Their red uniform, with the tall bearskin hat, is almost indistinguishable from that of the Governor General's Foot Guards in Canada.
The regiment was formed in Scotland in 1650 at the request of Oliver Cromwell during England's Civil War.
The Guardsmen served with distinction in the Napoleonic Wars, during both world wars and in the modern conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But with a single punch that December evening a Canadian raised questions among some Brits about not just the regiment but the entire British Army, now bogged down in what seems like many to be a losing battle in Afghanistan.
"Send her to Afghanistan/Pakistan with a gun and a pic of Bin Laden," wrote one Brit on a newspaper website.
The soldiers weren't exactly "combat fit," wrote another, suggesting that Britain should recruit "Canada's mini-Terminator pronto."
Some readers also shared the Wolfes' indignation over the soldiers' ballroom dancing techniques, which were described diplomatically by one army witness during the court case as "strange dance moves."
Others, however, said the Wolfes showed a lack of appreciation for British humour, with one retired army member writing that the Canadians failed to grasp that "pratting about is all part of the game" in the military.
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