Holidaymaker jailed for attacking partner in Ilfracombe

Exeter Crown Court

Exeter Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A drunken holidaymaker who attacked his girlfriend in the front seat of her car has been jailed. 

Kerry Blackwell was staying in Ilfracombe with victim Kirsty Henderson when they had an argument as she drove him home from a drinking session in the early hours. 

He lashed out after she stopped the car in a residential street and hit her on her arm before dragging her towards him by the hair and punching her to the face. 

He was so angry that he also punched and kicked the windscreen of the car and the noise of the attack alarmed residents, who called the police. 

Body worn police cameras recorded the victim with blood streaming from her face, soaking her clothes, and forming a pool in the central console of the car. 

The couple were on a short break in North Devon from their homes in Wrexham, North Wales, when Blackwell carried out the attack last month. 

Blackwell, aged 38, of Chapel Place, Wrexham, admitted causing actual bodily harm and criminal damage and was jailed for ten months by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court.  

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He told him: “This was a severe, serious and persistent incident in which you struck your partner when you were in Devon on holiday and struck her with punches and other blows. 

“You grabbed her hair and pulled her backwards and forwards, shouting and intimidating her throughout the incident. It was domestic violence and she was in a particularly vulnerable position, sitting beside you in a car. 

“She was at close quarters and it was extremely difficult for her to escape. She was also emotionally vulnerable when you lost your temper in an argument about missing property.” 

Mr Herc Ashworth, prosecuting, said Blackwell carried out the attack at around 1 am on August 18 when he was drunk and it was witnessed by resident in nearby houses, including children. 

The victim refused to cooperate with police but evidence of her injuries came from body cam footage and accounts from eye witnesses, who said they could hear the sound of his punches from inside their homes. 

He kicked and punched the windscreen hard enough to break it and she suffered a gash across the bridge of her nose but refused medical treatment. 

He has convictions for 13 previous offences including incidents of domestic violence. 

Mr Barry White, defending, said Blackwell had been friends with Ms Henderson for 20 years and they have been in a relationship for just over a year. 

He said it was not a coercive or controlling relationship and she did not want him prosecuted and has not asked for a restraining order. 

He said the assault happened after a long drinking session and has made Blackwell realise he needs to address his abuse of alcohol and the effect it has on medication he takes to control a bipolar disorder. 

He works as an electrician in North Wales and his employer has written him a reference.

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