'I'm lucky to be alive' - victim tells court, as Sheffield man who subjected her to horrific beating and 'left her for dead' is jailed
‘Short of killing her, it is difficult to see how her injuries could have been worse,’ a judge said as he jailed a Sheffield man who subjected his former partner to a horrific beating and ‘left her for dead’.
Dressed in a grey polo shirt and grey trousers, Shaka Williams, 31, said nothing as Judge Graham Reeds QC jailed him for nine years, 10 months for the horrendous attack on Britney Bashforth – his former partner and the mother of his one-year-old daughter, Preiya.
“What you have admitted is truly horrific...you set about her in such a jealous rage that you left her with particularly serious and life threatening injuries,” Judge Graham Reeds QC told Williams, of Brimmesfield Drive, Arbourthorne.
During the attack on April 13 this year, Ms Bashforth suffered fractures to her face; nose; both sides of her jaw; at least one vertebra and to eight of her ribs, which caused her lung to collapse.
She was also left with a number of abdominal injuries, including bleeding in her liver and her spleen, she had to undergo the surgical removal of part of her bowel, and was also left with extensive bruising to her arms, legs and genital area.
Ms Bashforth spent eight weeks in hospital and was in a coma for four weeks following the attack. She is still waiting for surgery to repair the injuries to her jaw, and has to use a surgical bag to compensate for her lost bowel function.
In statements read to Sheffield Crown Court, Ms Bashforth said her life had been ‘ruined’ by Williams.
“Shaka Williams almost killed me, I’m lucky to be alive. I’ve lived in this violent relationship for two years, and the final attack upon me by Shaka was the worst,” Ms Bashforth said.
She added: “I still suffer daily, and still have a surgical bag fitted.”
In addition to the ongoing physical effects of Williams’ attack, Ms Bashforth said she suffers from anxiety and depression and has also lost some of her hair.
“Because my hair is falling out, and because my hair is so thin, I’ve had to have a wig made because I can’t cope without my hair,” she said.
Prosecutor, Deborah Smithies, told the court how in the hours leading up to the attack, Ms Bashforth had enjoyed a night at home with friends and a neighbour.
She went to bed after the last of her guests left at around 12.30am, but was awoken at 3am by Williams who had climbed up to the French windows of her first floor bedroom.
Ms Bashforth let Williams in as requested, and he soon started an argument about a packet of tobacco he found at her flat because he did not believe it was hers.
She told him her neighbour had left the tobacco behind, and Williams insisted that she call her neighbour immediately to confirm what she had told him.
“She declined and said: ‘Why would I do that in the middle of the night? We’re not even together anymore’.
“That’s when he set about physically assaulting her, over what must have been a significant period of time...he knocked her unconscious.
“The next thing she remembers is waking up in great pain, and wondering what on earth had happened to her. Her first thought was that she must have been in some sort of car crash, so extensive were her injuries,” said Ms Smithies.
The following day, Williams persistently phoned a mutual friend and told her she needed to take Ms Bashforth to hospital – but did not tell her what had happened or how badly Ms Bashforth was injured.
Due to work commitments, the friend did not arrive at Ms Bashforth’s flat until 3.30pm – more than 12 hours after the attack – by which time Ms Bashforth was barely breathing.
“She suffered such extensive bruising that when you eventually did raise the alarm and a friend found her, she was barely able to breathe. Her friend describes the horror in seeing the state in which you left her,” Judge Reeds told Williams.
He added: “You are a physically powerful man. She could never hope to defend herself from you, and you must have been in a state of rage to do that to her, and then, almost as bad leave her for dead without giving any thought about getting immediate help for what you had done to her. You went home, and no doubt went to sleep, not caring to do anything to raise the alarm until much later.”
Williams was charged with grievous bodily harm with intent, and had been due to stand trial for the offence today, but pleaded guilty to the charge instead.
Sean Sullivan, defending, said Williams had inflicted Ms Bashforth’s injuries in a ‘flurry of hard punches’.
This was questioned by Judge Reeds, who said he found it ‘very difficult’ to believe that Williams had inflicted all of the injuries with his fists.
“The extent of the bruising to the body, the limbs and the genital area is not that which generally would be associated with simply punching a person, whatever the circumstances,” said Judge Reeds.
He said the evidence suggested that Williams had used his feet to inflict at least some of the injuries – which, if true, would push the categorisation of the crime into the most serious sentencing bracket, and would therefore result in a longer term of imprisonment.
Judge Reeds offered Williams the opportunity to give evidence and counter the assertion he had kicked Ms Bashforth during the attack; but Mr Sullivan said Williams would not be giving evidence, and said he had to therefore agree with the attack being placed in the most serious bracket for GBH with intent.
In addition to jailing Williams, Judge Reeds also granted a restraining order which prohibits him from contacting Ms Bashforth indefinitely.
He said: “This was self-evidently a sustained attack in order to cause such extensive injuries, and short of killing your victim it is difficult to see how her injuries could have been worse. Indeed you are very fortunate that she did not die or you would now be starting a life sentence for murder.”