Man jailed for beating pregnant woman

Liam Poole
Liam Poole

A “sadistic” thug has been jailed for a horrific series of attacks on a heavily-pregnant woman in which he used her as a “punch bag” during a four-hour ordeal.

Liam Poole, 26, “savagely” beat and abused the woman to such an extent that a Crown Court judge said it was akin to “waging a war” on her.

York Crown Court heard that the victim, who was 22 weeks’ pregnant, was kneed in the face and stomach as she tried desperately to cover her tummy and protect her unborn baby during the “cruel and callous” attacks at her home.

Over several hours on the night of August 19 and into the early hours of the following morning, drunken Poole repeatedly taunted and psychologically manipulated the woman into believing he had calmed down, only to “snap back” into ferocious violence.

Prosecutor Austin Newman said Poole flew into a rage during an argument. When the woman threatened to leave, Poole warned her that he would harm her pet cats.

Later that evening, they were in the bedroom when Poole “goaded” the victim by showing her a text message he had received from a former partner.

He then ordered her to go to the shop to buy him some beer.

“The victim complied with that and when she returned he consumed all 12 cans, in the process becoming very drunk and aggressive,” said Mr Newman.

When the victim said she was going to spend the night at her mother’s house, Poole threw a pint glass at her, striking her leg.

She drove off in her car to seek refuge at a friend’s house, but when she returned at 2am the following morning, Poole grabbed the driver’s door as she was getting out and forced it back on its hinges, breaking the door.

She tried to walk away, but Poole threatened to put a brick through her window if she didn’t go inside the house.

Once inside, Poole dragged her into the bedroom and rained blows down on her. He then pulled her hair and told her: ‘You know I’m going to kill you tonight, don’t you?”

“He then orders her to remove her clothes before taunting her about her appearance and kneeing her in the stomach,” said Mr Newman.

The victim tried to call ‘999’ but Poole snatched the phone from her grasp and snapped it in half.

She finally managed to escape at about 6am and went to a public payphone to call the police.

But Poole followed her to the booth, grabbed the phone and screamed: “I’ll burn the house down.”

“He then punched her in the face and ran away,” added Mr Newman.

The victim suffered a black eye and “appalling” bruising and grazes all over her body. She described the attacks as “highly-traumatic” and said they had played havoc with her emotions.

“She feels betrayed because she looked to him for care and protection, particularly in her (pregnant) condition,” added Mr Newman.

Poole, of Columbus Ravine, appeared for sentence on Friday after admitting assault occasioning actual bodily harm, making a threat to kill, and three counts of criminal damage or threatening to damage property.

The court heard that Poole had numerous previous convictions for offenses including making threats to kill, possessing an offensive weapon, harassment, affray, burglary and obstructing a police officer.

Defence barrister Eleanor Fry said Poole accepted the violence was “horrific”.

Recorder Richard Wright QC branded Poole a “violent bully” and the attacks on the pregnant woman as “despicable, cruel and callous”.

“In drink and in temper, you waged upon her a war, quite literally using her as a punching bag; humiliating her, belittling her and threatening her,” added Mr Wright.

“In my judgement, there are elements of your behaviour which can properly be described as sadistic.”

Poole was jailed for four years and slapped with a restraining order which bans him from contacting the victim.