Lockdown cohabitation ended in nasty assault, court hears

Posted On 23 Jul 2021 at 2:58 pm

Hove Crown Court

A lockdown cohabitation ended in violence when a man drenched his girlfriend with a supersoaker water pistol then kicked her in the head.

When the first lockdown began, Leslie Wills invited his partner Jacqui Boucher to live with him at his flat in Lawrence Road, Hove.

But less than a month later, a drunken argument ended with Wills’ violent attack on her.

Prosecuting at Hove Crown Court today, Sarah Lindop said the argument started when the pair were in the garden with one of Wills’ friends, Paul.

Wills had been making comments which Boucher felt were demeaning, and she became angry when Wills offered to get Paul a drink, but not her.

Ms Lindop said: “She told the defendant how she was feeling, and he said if you don’t like how I’m treating you, you can f*** off back to your own place.

“That was what she then proceeded to do.

“She went into the kitchen and pulled blinds down, damaging them in the process. She also poured a bottle of vodka she had bought for them to drink down the sink and that seems to have fuelled the anger of the defendant.”

As she went to leave the house, Wills was screaming and shouting at her, and as she went through the garden, he picked up a supersoaker water pistol and used it to drench her.

She slipped, and ended up lying on the floor.

Ms Lindop said: “He took a run up to her and kicked her to the right side of the head, which caused her to jolt sideways and the left hand side of her head hit the garden fence.”

She got up and ran home. After getting changed, she held her hand to her head, and when she took it way, she saw blood on it.

She went to bed, but woke at 5am with blood on the pillow and “horrendous” pain. At A&E, she was x-rayed, which revealed her ear drum had been perforated.

However, it was not until 7 May, when Wills was outside her property banging on her door, that she called the police and told them what had happened.

Wills, 47, was arrested and charged with assault causing actual bodily harm.

He was also charged with causing water damage to her phone during the same incident, and of sneaking into her garden a couple of weeks later and stealing statues. Both of those are to lie on file.

Wills initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to guilty at crown court.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, Ms Boucher said the attack had caused a great deal of stress and anxiety.

She said: “I’m too scared to go to my garden which is the only place I can go to. I have not been able to manage even short walks.

“The lack of remorse and care towards me in itself has caused me huge emotional distress.”

Judge Stephen Gold sentenced Wills to four months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He ordered him to completely 25 rehabilitation activity days, pay £500 in compensation to Ms Boucher and £200 in costs.

He also imposed a restraining order preventing Wills from contacting Ms Boucher for two years.

He told Wills it was a nasty attack, but added: “I strongly suspect you regret how it ended.”

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