A VIOLENT husband walked free from court with a suspended prison sentence – after trying to strangle his wife and battering her so hard with a wooden chopping board that it broke.
Qaiser Mahmood, aged 27, of Upwell Street, Grimesthorpe, Sheffield, kicked terrified Sonia Nazir in the ribs and left her with bruises all over her body, after she forgot to prepare a meal.
A judge at Sheffield Crown Court ordered him to complete 200 hours of community work, placed him under a year’s supervision, and jailed him for 12 months suspended for two years.
Today domestic violence charities said they were ‘not surprised’ by the sentence.
“I can quite understand why women don’t want to go to court,” said Kathy Huckle from the Pathways Family Support Centre in Barnsley.
“I would say this kind of sentence is par for the course.
“I have had some good experiences where people have got lengthy sentences – but more often than not victims are left wondering where the justice is, and where their protection is when people walk free.”
The court heard Mahmood and his wife had an arranged marriage, and Sonia’s shocked family reported the assault to police when they saw her injuries.
Mahmood admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm – but Judge Graham Robinson said he felt unable to jail him because of the length of time the case had taken to reach court, and the fact he had no previous convictions.
Beverley Tait, prosecuting, said the couple wed in Pakistan, had a two-year-old son, and were married for three-and-a-half years.
The relationship was difficult and Sonia eventually left their home in St Ann’s, Rotherham, returning the day before the attack last July. Sonia got up the next morning, which was the first day of Ramadan and Mahmood began to com plain no food had been prepared.
“There was an argument, and the complainant was hit about the body and head with a wooden chopping board with such force the board broke,” Ms Tait said.
Ms Tait said Mahmood carried on hitting his wife and kicked her in the back and ribs ‘like a football’.
“She described in her video interview that the defendant tried to strangle her and she fainted,” she told the court.
Sonia went to her mother’s house the next day and showed her injuries to her sister, who burst into tears before calling the police. Mahmood was arrested.
Sonia, who has learning difficulties and was described in court as ‘a very simple girl’, suffered bruising to her shoulders, back and both arms. Doctors also found Mahmood had damaged the bone under Sonia’s tongue and noticed finger marks on her neck.
Nawaz Hussain, defending, said the couple have now separated.
Judge Robinson told Mahmood: “You subjected your wife to a vicious beating. You hit her very nearly all over her body. This was a sustained attack on a vulnerable woman in her own home involving the use of a weapon.
“Had this come before the courts earlier it would have been very difficult to have avoided an immediate custodial sentence.”
The judge said he would make a restraining order at a later date, regarding Mahmood’s contact with his son.
“If there’s any suggestion of violence or even being a nuisance towards your wife, you will go to prison for a long time,” Judge Robinson warned him.
A Women’s Aid spokeswoman said courts must prioritise the safety of victims when sentencing attackers.
She said: “It is vital Government provides adequate funding for specialist domestic and sexual services. Services are closing and being cut and reduced, and this is leaving victims at risk.”
Cheryl Henry, domestic violence co-ordinator at Rotherham Council, said are a number of services on offer for victims who need help. “We would advise people in the first instance to phone the police,” she said.
- Call South Yorkshire Police on 101
- Safer Rotherham Partnership on 01709 334567
- Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run by Women’s Aid and Refuge – 0808 200 0247