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Jail for Thatcham man who bit fiancée’s finger

12-week sentence for attack witnessed by victim’s children

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886628

Court No.1 New

A RAGING man who tried to bite off his fiancée’s £2,000 engagement ring in front of her screaming children has been jailed.

Edward Lewis Rawlings, who has a history of domestic violence, was also banned from contacting his former partner once he is released.

The 28-year-old, who was living at Hartley Way, Thatcham, showed no emotion as he was led to the cells at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, July 26.

Chris White, prosecuting, said Mr Rawlings turned up at the home of Kelly Morse – his “on-off girlfriend” – minutes after police left.

Ironically, the court heard, they had been conducting a welfare check on her and her children after Mr Rawlings made threats.

Mr White added: “He had been drinking and she asked him to leave.

“He grabbed her hand and tried to pull a ring off her finger.

“He bent back her false nails, causing three to snap off. He then leaned over and bit her finger in an attempt to get the ring off.”

Two men ran in and pulled Mr Rawlings off Ms Morse, the court heard, prompting him to run away, shouting as he went: “I’m going to ruin your life.”

Mr White said: “A passer-by named Brian Henley later told police that a child had been outside, absolutely terrified, saying the defendant was attacking his mum.”

Mr Rawlings was arrested, but gave “no comment” answers to police questions, magistrates were told.

He denied assaulting Kelly Morse by beating her in Thatcham on June 28 and a trial date was fixed.

But on Thursday Mr Rawlings, who had been remanded in custody, changed his plea and accepted his guilt.

Mr White said: “The defendant has previous convictions for offences including domestic violence-related battery, breaching a non-molestation order, a violent assault and, again, breaching a non-molestation order.”

He concluded by applying to the court for a restraining order to protect Ms Morse and her children.

Lydia Etheridge, defending, said Mr Rawlings had given Ms Morse the £2,000 ring the previous week, adding: “They had agreed to get married, so it was an engagement ring.”

She told magistrates that her client had forbidden Ms Morse to see certain “troublesome” members of her family and went on: “In order to progress the relationship, she agreed not to associate with them. But he had seen her on that day with those troublesome family members.”

Mr Rawlings was so angry that he wanted to take the ring back to the shop, where he could get a refund if he returned it within a specified time frame, said Ms Etheridge.

She said her client was working for Veolia at the Padworth Recycling Centre and added: “He has had a letter from his employer, Mark Bowers, which confirms he can return to that employment.

“We have no objection to the restraining order – he has no desire to ever see Ms Morse again now he has got his head straight.”

Magistrates jailed Mr Rawlings for 12 weeks and ordered him to pay a statutory victim services surcharge of £115.

They said the offence was aggravated because it was witnessed by the children.

In addition, they imposed a two-year restraining order preventing Mr Rawlings from contacting Ms Morse, either directly or indirectly, and from going to a specified address in Park Avenue, Thatcham. 

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