Man jailed after ex-partner climbed out of window to escape him

Gary Richards

Gary Richards - Credit: DC Police

A man has been jailed after his ex-partner climbed out of a first-floor window to escape his violence.

Gary Richards had split up with his 45-year-old girlfriend but she allowed him to stay at her home in Barnstaple while he found somewhere else to live.

A violent argument started when she woke up and found some of her prescription medication was missing.

She confronted him but he responded by punching her in the ribs, threatening her with a knife and partially strangling her.

She tried to flee out of the front door but he dragged her back and, in the end, she climbed out of the window of the first-floor kitchen onto a flat roof where she was spotted and rescued by a neighbour.

Richards claimed she had attacked him and he had defended himself and that she had stepped out of the window to get some fresh air.

He carried out what was said to be a character assassination of her during a four-day trial at Exeter Crown Court in which he said she was a drug addict who worked as a prostitute to feed her habit.

Most Read

He said she already had bruising to her face after being assaulted by a punter the night before his attack. The jury took less than an hour to reject his version of events and find him guilty.

Richards, aged 45, of Tiptoe Close, Northampton, denied assault causing actual bodily harm but was convicted and jailed for 17 months by Recorder Mr Richard Stead.

He was banned from any further contact and from going to the victim’s home by a five-year restraining order.

He told him: “You went well over the top and completely lost control during this attack. Her individual injuries were not that significant but overall, they were indicative of the nature of the assault.

“You stopped her leaving the premises by the front door and she eventually escaped out of a back window. This was violence in a domestic context in which you were exercising control over a woman who was vulnerable.

“Throughout the trial, you attacked her reputation in a most demeaning manner.”

Miss Althea Brooks, prosecuting, said the attack happened on October 16 last year, shortly after the victim had broken off their volatile seven-month relationship.

She suffered severely bruised ribs, marks on her face and neck, and was clearly terrified when she was rescued by neighbours and the police.

Richards told the jury he had rescued the woman from drug addiction and prostitution but she had relapsed in the days before the incident.

He said he had put some of her prescribed Valium into her knicker drawer to stop her taking more than she should but she woke up and attacked him after accusing him of stealing it.

Mr Ryan Murray, defending, said Richards has a criminal past but no record of serious violence. He said he has medical problems of his own which include epileptic seizures.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter