Man jailed for serious assault that left victim hospitalised
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A man from Hemel Hempstead was jailed for eight years and five months today (Monday 21 August) following a serious assault which left his ex-partner with life-changing injuries.
He has also been handed a restraining order preventing him from ever contacting the victim again.
Benn Merryweather, aged 41, was charged with multiple offences following an incident on 27 August 2022.
Police attended an address at around 9.30pm, following several calls stating a disturbance from inside, the court was told.
Upon police arrival, Merryweather initially failed to respond to officers and open the door. Once officers gained entry, a woman was found semi-unconscious in the hallway with what appeared to be a serious head injury.
Merryweather was arrested at the scene while the victim received medical assistance. She was transported to hospital where she was placed in an induced coma.
She spent a week in hospital having suffered memory loss and multiple fractures to her eye socket, cheekbone, ribs, and spine.
Following extensive enquiries, it was discovered on CCTV earlier that same evening Merryweather and the victim were walking down a local high street before he swiped her legs from behind and left her lying on the ground.
Merryweather was charged with Section 18 GBH, assault by beating and coercive and controlling behaviour.
He admitted assault by beating, which related to the incident earlier in the evening, but denied all other charges.
Following a two-week trial at Luton Crown Court, Merryweather was found guilty of Section 18 GBH on Tuesday 20 June but not guilty of coercive and controlling behaviour.
At a sentencing hearing today, Merryweather was given a custodial sentence of eight years and five months plus an extended licence period of three years, resulting in an overall sentence of 11 years and five months for all offences.
Detective Constable Rebecca Cannon, Detective Sergeant Naysha Foley and Detective Inspector Claire Richardson–Wabe were praised by Judge Evans for the investigation and their hard work in bringing Merryweather to justice.
Judge Evans also commended the victim and her family for their bravery in the face of what was a difficult and emotional trial.
DCI Andrea Dalton, from the Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit, said: “This was a challenging and complex investigation for our team. Upon arrest, Merryweather absolved all responsibility of the GBH assault and maintained that the victim had fallen down the stairs. He also failed to provide any further account of what happened. As a result of this traumatic and violent assault, the victim also had no recollection of the incident.
“Hertfordshire Constabulary has a zero tolerance to this type of abhorrent behaviour, and we are pleased that Merryweather will now serve time in prison for his wrongdoing.
“I also hope today’s sentence will give the victim a sense of closure and enable her to move on with her life, safe in the knowledge that Merryweather will never be able to contact her again.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call the Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 808 8088* for free confidential advice and support.