Grandma jailed for “savage” assault on her girlfriend

NEWS from Nottingham Crown Court.
NEWS from Nottingham Crown Court.

A grandmother from Eastwood has been jailed after an assault of “persistent savagery” on her girlfriend in the garden of their home last Christmas.

In an attack described as “gratuitous violence”, Paula Hutsby knocked Rachel Boyd to the ground, kicked her in the body and head and stamped on her, a court heard.

So badly injured was Miss Boyd that when she finally escaped and fled to a friend’s house, dressed only in her pyjamas, the friend couldn’t recognise her blood and mud-spattered face.

At Nottingham Crown Court, Judge James Sampson branded 42-year-old Hutsby “a serial domestic abuser” after hearing she had received 12 previous convictions for 50 offences, including assaults on other partners.

He imposed a jail term of 27 months, which was increased by six weeks because she was also in breach of a suspended prison-sentence dating back to last August.

The court heard that Hutsby’s 20-year-old daughter, Karmel, also took part in the assault. She was spared prison on the grounds that it would lead to her one-year-old son and 15-year-old sister going into care. Instead she was handed a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

“You ought to go inside but, as an act of mercy, you won’t,” the judge told her. “You showed misguided loyalty. Your mother doesn’t need help and doesn’t deserve it.”

The Hutsbys, who now live at Woodland Way, Eastwood, pleaded guilty to assault, causing actual bodily harm, at their former address on South Street on Tuesday, December 23.

Kevin Jones, prosecuting, said Paula and Miss Boyd were in a happy relationship for more than three years before problems began when they moved to South Street.

Paula took control of her partner’s Facebook account and the family finances, which led to arguments that went on for days.

“On this occasion, Miss Boyd asked Paula for some cash and was given just £2, which she wasn’t happy about, asking if it was her pocket money,” said Mr Jones.

“She went into the garden to sit on a chair, and Paula followed, shouting at her. When Miss Boyd said she’d had enough and told her to pack her bags and go, Paula struck her on the left cheek, knocking her off the chair.

“She began kicking her and as Miss Boyd curled up into a ball, she continued to kick and stamp on her repeatedly.

“Karmel then appeared and began to kick her too. As Miss Boyd was rolling around on the floor to avoid the blows, Karmel’s younger sister urged them to stop, saying: You’ve done enough.

“But Paula kicked her in the ribs and told Miss Boyd: If you go to the police, I’ll kill you.

“In the end, Miss Boyd ran away, leaving behind her own children, aged seven and six. When she got to a friend’s house, she was terrified, shaking, bleeding from her lips and eyes and begging to be allowed in. The friend phoned the police.”

At hospital, Miss Boyd had to have CT scans and was treated by the major trauma team before being kept in overnight, the court heard.

“When the police tried to interview her, she was physically shaking and violently sick several times,” said Mr Jones.

“In a statement, she said the assault deeply affected her trust of women, She had to move out of her home, leaving all her belongings, and went to live in a women’s refuge.

“She found it all degrading and upsetting and was left with horrible memories. She was on tablets for depression and was suffering panic attacks, flashbacks and nightmares. She said it would take her a long time to rebuild her life.”

The court heard that when interviewed by the police, Paula described the assault as “a bit of a scuffle”. But her barrister, William Bennett, mitigating, said she now recognised it was her fault and was “truly sorry”.

She wasn’t in court to bleat and was not blaming Miss Boyd. “This is a woman she used to love but was now causing an enormous amount of pain for,” said Mr Bennett.

“On the day of the assault, she thought Miss Boyd had gone into the garden to self-harm. She’d got it into her head that some of her medication had gone missing and she feared Miss Boyd was making some kind of suicide attempt. However, she lost her self-control and what followed was an awful example of domestic violence.”

For Karmel, her barrister, Clarkson Baptiste, mitigating, said: “This was an awful set of circumstances, including the fact that children were present.

“Karmel witnessed a great deal of domestic violence when she was a youngster and fell victim herself, so she should have known better.

“She has also been a victim of violence at the hands of her former partner, who is soon to be released from prison.

“She has substantial difficulties, but is hoping to return to her studies on a hair and beauty course at college.”

The judge told Karmel, who has a record of six previous convictions for 12 offences: “It was completely unnecessary for you to get involved. You should have got out the house, not stuck the boot in.

“Your bad childhood doesn’t give you an excuse for what you did, especially as you now have a child of your own. If you don’t mend your ways, he won’t have a better future, or any kind of life with you. This is the last chance you will ever get from a court.”

To Paula, the judge added: “It is clear that previous sentences have not made the slightest difference to how you conduct yourself.

“You set about Rachel Boyd with nothing less than persistent savagery. It was a sustained attack on a defenceless woman. She was left battered and bruised at her own home, which she had to leave.”

Both Paula and her daughter were subjected to a restraining order, banning them indefinitely from approaching or contacting Miss Boyd or her children. Karmel was also placed on a community order for 12 months.