MORE must be done to protect domestic violence victims.
That was the stern message from the police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes and a domestic violence group after a man was jailed for 18 months for repeatedly punching his girlfriend – just days after he was released on bail for assaulting her.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard Kevin Snelling, 35, was serving a suspended jail term for assaulting his partner. But he assaulted her again giving her a black eye, was arrested and bailed and told not to contact her – but then went to her flat in Fareham and slammed her head on a table.
Domestic abuse group Aurora New Dawn said people such as Snelling must be ‘closely managed’ to avoid further attacks.
Prosecutor Matthew Lawson said that Snelling stayed with her for several days and it was not until he started getting drunk that violence again broke out.
‘She says that for the first few days he was fine but then began to drink heavily and began to “kick off”,’ he said.
‘One morning they bought some strong cider together and started drinking.
‘He accused her of drinking some of his cider. Then he grabbed her hair and pushed her head onto the table.’
Mr Lawson said this happened about four times, and Snelling prevented her from leaving the flat or going to the toilet for hours.
Mr Lawson said: ‘She says he punched her in the face twice and there was blood everywhere.’
He said she was able to escape the flat and sought refuge with a neighbour when a PCSO called on the door.
Reading the victim statement, Mr Lawson said: ‘I was crying, my nose was a mess, it was pouring with blood.
‘He wouldn’t let me out of the flat, I was really scared.’
As more police arrived, Snelling barricaded himself in the flat, refusing to leave.
Mr Lawson said he made threats against the police, warned that he would harm himself and pushed a 6in knife through the letterbox.
‘He claimed to the police that he had mental problems and needed help, and that he had taken 300 tablets.
‘Eventually officers did force entry to the flat and he was arrested.’
The court heard Snelling has a record of violence and breaching court orders going back to 1997.
He initially pleaded not guilty to actual bodily harm, but later pleaded guilty.
Snelling, of Wynton Way, Fareham, was on remand for four months and attended Alcoholics Anonymous.
Recorder John Williams said the victim was vulnerable. He said Snelling would face another period on licence when he was released. ‘I hope that you keep out of trouble and sort your life out,’ he said.
Snelling’s assaults happened in November last year, December 13 and December 21.
Shonagh Dillon, chief executive of Aurora New Dawn, added: ‘It’s really important to be able to manage those people very closely and the victim gets the right support.
‘They are not often seen as the highest risk offences but if someone has issues round power and control and they’ve been punished for that they’re probably going to up the ante and have the risk of reoffending or becoming more violent.’
Mr Hayes said: ‘In my Police and Crime Plan, I clearly state commitments to ensuring victims should be at the heart of the criminal justice system and reducing reoffending.
‘Local authorities, Hampshire Constabulary and the Community Rehabilitation Company, are working hard to improve the recording and sharing of information, identify risk, tackle violence and support victims, perpetrators and families through appropriate intervention.
‘The introduction of CRCs as a new criminal justice partner has meant new ways of working and it is essential that partners adapt quickly to ensure that perpetrators are not allowed to reoffend and victims know where to turn for support.’
He added that he was funding a pilot programme offering educational workshops to certain domestic abuse offenders with the aim of stopping reoffending.