Woman-beater spared jail

SERIAL woman-beater Barrington Aitkens has been spared jail after choking his girlfriend so badly she had a fit after nearly losing consciousness.

SERIAL woman-beater Barrington Aitkens has been spared jail after choking his girlfriend so badly she had a fit after nearly losing consciousness.

A 51-week suspended prison sentence today hangs over the 29-year-old from Chesterton Close, Ipswich, after he admitted actual bodily harm to his former partner Laura Brennan.

During his sentencing, recorder Martyn Levett said Aitkens had had been violent towards girlfriends in his five or six relationships and might even end up killing somebody if he could not control himself.

Prosecutor Neelam Sharma told Ipswich Crown Court the attack on Miss Brennan took place in October 2007, after she travelled to London where Aitkens was living at the time.

The pair had shared a tumultuous 11-month relationship, which had ended three months earlier.

However, the pair remained in contact and Miss Brennan took some belongings to Aitkens.

Most Read

When she arrived at his flat in her VW Golf around 1.30am, Aitkens punched her windscreen, damaging it with his fist.

Miss Sharma said he then made a joke of it and went upstairs to his flat. After about 15 minutes Aitkens began punching a wardrobe and the walls saying, 'I could seriously hurt someone'.

He then pushed Miss Brennan on the bed and bit her three times on the thigh with increasing strength. Aitkens then got off her after a struggle, before kicking her to the floor and then banged her head on the wall three or four times, the court heard.

During the attack he told Miss Brennan the more she spoke the worse she was making it. He then punched her and hit her head on the wall, before lashing the back of his hand across her left eye.

When she tried to escape Aitkens put his arms around her throat and kept them there until she couldn't breathe.

Miss Sharma said Miss Brennan fell to the floor and shook uncontrollably.

The court was told Aitkens had 17 previous convictions for 29 offences including assault, affray, threatening behaviour, false imprisonment and battery. Two of these included assaults on other girlfriends, including one where a partner was holding a 16-month-old child when she was hit in the mouth.

Miss Jessie Mond-Wedd, mitigating, said her client had seen domestic abuse as he was growing up and accepted he needed to get help.

The court heard Aitkens has now embarked on a new relationship.

In addition to his suspended sentence Aitkens was given a 24-month supervision order and must attend a 12-month domestic abuse programme. An order was also made prohibiting him from contact with Miss Brennan for a year.

AITKENS appalling history of domestic violence was laid bare by Recorder Martyn Levett as he sentenced the 29-year-old.

Mr Levett said: “The defendant is person who has a propensity to beat up his partners.”

Speaking to Aitkens counsel Miss Jessie Mond-Wedd, Mr Levett added her client might even kill somebody in certain circumstances.

He also expressed his frustration, telling the court: “My hands are tied. I can't pass a sentence which I think will protect women.”

Mr Levett said he was giving Aitkens a suspended sentence as he had not had any contact with Miss Brennan for a year and he had not been in any further trouble.

However, Mr Levett described Aitkens as a bully and a control freak towards women.

“It's a pretty disgusting case,” he said.

Turning to Aitkens, Mr Levett told him: “For about 12 months in 2007 your relationship with Laura Brennan seemed to be stable. Like so many relationships where domestic violence is a major factor, they start off very cosy with no difficulties at all.

“But in my experience, and in my judgment, things change after a period of between six or nine months when the dominating male partner seems to want more out of his partner than they should.

“It seems that things between you and Laura were going on reasonably well until she tried to end the relationship sometime in July 2007, from when you became a controlling individual towards her, treated her as your own taxi service and effectively as your own slave.

“Reading her statement again, the events of October 3 are, to say the least, despicable and you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

“It was that remark when you saw the injury to her face that is most telling about you and your awareness of the harm you caused - 'all I can remember is strangling her. Thirty seconds more and you would not be here'.

“You have got an appalling record. You have got previous convictions for violence, for false imprisonment and more importantly you have previous convictions for assaults on partners.

“Your past shows an unrelenting pattern of behaviour, of abuse, towards women.”

A LEADING national charity, which works with domestic violence victims, today called for tough sentences for the thugs who abuse their partners.

While keen to stress she was not commenting specifically on the case of Barrington Aitkens, a spokeswoman for Women's Aid said the courts must send out a strong message to the perpetrators in general.

Lucy Brown, spokesperson for Women's Aid said: “Court sentencing for domestic violence is often inconsistent and sentences do not always reflect the severity of the crime.

“It takes a great deal of courage for a woman to go to court about domestic violence and low sentencing may deter other women from doing so.

“Currently two women every week in England and Wales are killed as a result of domestic violence and 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence at some point in their lifetimes.

“It is vital that the courts give out the message that domestic violence is not acceptable and sentence accordingly.

"It is further essential that a court sentence goes hand in hand with risk management measures.

“Currently a conviction does not mean that the survivor is any safer and there is no requirement for the convicted person to go on a perpetrator program as part of the sentencing."

Women's Aid is the key national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children. We support a network of over 500 domestic and sexual violence services across the UK.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and want to get help telephone Women's Aid on 0808 2000 247. If you wish to report an abusive partner contact Suffolk police on 01473 613500.

The Star says:-

IT seems unbelievable that Aitkens, a man whom the judge fears could kill someone, could not be given a custodial sentence because of legal guidelines.

If a judge feels his or her hands are so tied in cases like this, then there needs to be a look a the legal options open to courts.

Everyone will be hoping that the courses Aitkens will be sent on will succeed in curbing the excesses of his behaviour.

Aitkens has an appalling record of violence - especially domestic violence - and if he ever ends up in court for more serious offences then the justice system would have some serious questions to answer after the judge's comments this time.