Sheffield man jailed for attacking partner and her two young children
A Sheffield man held a kitchen knife to his partner's throat and told her: 'If I can't have you, nobody can,' a matter of hours after being bailed for a separate attack on the woman and two of her young children.
Judge Roger Thomas QC jailed Raymond Acton, 31, for four years during a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court on Wednesday, relating to two instances of what he described as 'very serious' domestic violence.
The first incident took place on January 11 this year, after Acton, of no fixed abode, and his partner returned home from a funeral, both in varying states of drunkenness.
After putting the woman's five young children to bed, two of whom had been fathered by Acton, the couple got into an argument when Acton complained about her seven-year-old son coming downstairs because he could not get to sleep, the court heard.
"The defendant was shouting and swearing at the complainant, she asked him to stop and calm down. She went into the kitchen to call the police because the defendant was refusing to leave the address," said Neil Coxon, prosecuting.
He added: "Acton followed her into the kitchen and slapped her, pushing her head between the washer and dryer and then punching her right eye, causing her to fall to the floor. Once on the floor, Acton grappled with the complainant and the assault continued."
During the melee, Acton also assaulted the woman's seven-year-old son, causing redness and swelling to his face; and assaulted her 12-year-old daughter by pushing her, which did not cause any injuries.
Mr Coxon added: "The children ran to a neighbour's address to request assistance from the police, the defendant followed the woman outside where he pushed her over a hedge."
The woman followed her two children to her neighbour's house, and while they waited for the police to arrive Acton was banging and shouting on the door and smashed two large plant pots against the door.
He then returned to the woman's house and locked himself in, with the two children they shared who were then aged 13 months and eight weeks old, respectively. Acton allowed police into the house and was arrested at the scene.
The woman was left with three fractures to her face, for which she underwent surgery in order to have metal plates fitted.
Acton's next spate of offending took place on March 10 this year, the day after he pleaded guilty to the set of offences relating to the first incident and was subsequently bailed.
His former partner returned home near midnight to find him waiting outside her property.
The pair are believed to have spoken to each other on the phone in the weeks leading up to this, despite bail conditions preventing Acton from contacting her or from entering Sheffield.
Mr Coxon told the court how the woman allowed Acton, who appeared to be calm, to come into the house.
Once inside, he picked up a large kitchen knife and began threatening her with it.
He said: "Acton stood over her with the knife. He held her down with his left hand and made stabbing motions towards her with the knife in his right hand. He then held the knife to her throat, and said: 'If I can't have you then nobody can'."
Acton discarded the knife and fled the scene before police arrived.
He returned at around 4am, forced entry into the property and assaulted the woman's sister before leaving with two bags of clothes.
Acton pleaded guilty to a string of offences including one count of grievous bodily harm, three counts of assault, one count of affray and two counts of criminal damage at an earlier hearing.
Lucy Hogarth, defending, told the court that Acton had previously struggled with his mental health.
"At the time of the offence they had five children in the house, including a new born baby, and he found his mental health was in a fragile state due to a lack of sleep and the weight of looking after five children," said Ms Hogarth, adding: "This is a man who, as Your Honour has observed, has no similar previous convictions."
Sending Acton to prison, Judge Thomas said: "There's a very strong public interest in courts ensuring that violence, perhaps domestic violence in particular, is regulated through the criminal court system."
Judge Thomas refused the Crown's request for a restraining order preventing Acton from contacting his previous partner, after it was revealed she had been to visit him in prison as recently as May 3 this year.