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Jail for man who stamped on pregnant girlfriend and bit a chunk from his mother's face

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Owen Ackers was given an eight-and-a-half-year jail sentence as well as 18 months' stringent monitoring
Owen Ackers was given an eight-and-a-half-year jail sentence as well as 18 months' stringent monitoring

A BURTON man has been slapped with an extended jail term after he was assessed as a “dangerous offender” who poses a risk to women and the public.

Owen Ackers (23), landed himself before the courts after a shocking lockdown attack in which he stamped repeatedly on his pregnant girlfriend – rendering her unconscious – and punched his mother before biting of a “chunk” from her face, scarring her for life.

Appearing before Bournemouth Crown Court on Monday for sentence, Judge Robert Pawson noted a probation assessment said there was a “high risk” of Ackers reoffending in the future and required intervention and help to change his attitude towards women and relationships.

While Ackers claimed he was “remorseful”, the judge caught him mouthing obscenities at his now ex-partner Sapphire Bassett as he sat in the dock.

Judge Pawson gave Ackers a prison term of eight-and-a-half years and ordered that whenever he is released he will be subject to stringent monitoring for 18 months.

“I am giving you an extended sentence in order to protect the public and, in particular, women in the future,” Judge Pawson said.

It means Ackers will not be released until he convinces a parole board it is safe for him to be back on the streets. Also, if he were to reoffend again he would be recalled to prison.

Ackers appeared before the court having pleaded guilty to two charges of causing Ms Bassett and his mother grievous bodily harm with intent at an earlier hearing.

Prosecutor Susan Cavender said Ackers carried out a “savage” 30-minute attack on 21st April at his mother’s Lineside home, having drunk vodka and taken cocaine during the day.

It started when his mother, Diane Ackers, tried to take a bottle of vodka from her drunken son, but he punched her in the face and chased her up the stairs and into the bathroom.

When Ms Bassett grabbed him, he attacked her, pulling out “clumps” of her hair and pushed her on the floor, stamping repeatedly on her head, shoulders and chest.

When Diane tried to stop Ackers he turned back on her, punching her and biting her between her eyebrows so hard he removed a “chunk of her flesh” which he then “spat out”.

Ackers shouted he thought Ms Bassett was dead and screamed at his mother “You’ve f***ed up my life so now I’m going to f*** up yours”, Ms Cavender said, before Ackers jumped out of the first-floor bathroom window, shirtless, when police arrived at the home.

Both women were rushed to hospital for treatment. Ms Bassett, who has since given birth without problems, suffered bruising and had to return to hospital two weeks after the attack for treatment as her concussion had caused complications.

In a victim statement Ms Bassett told Ackers “I never want to see you again”, adding the defendant had “killed” their chance to be a family and their son “would always be a Bassett”.

Diane, who told the court she had “never been as petrified and as scared in my life” as on that night, suffered severe bruising and a dislocated finger as well as the facial injury.

The court heard Ackers had a history of violence against Ms Bassett. At the time of the April offences he was the subject of a court order which banned him from seeing her.

Defence barrister Nick Robinson gave a passionate speech on behalf of Ackers, in which he detailed the defendant’s “difficult” upbringing. He had witnessed “abuse” and dysfunction from a young age, the court heard, and was taken into care aged 11 by social services.

Mr Robinson said it was a classic case of the sins of a step-parent being revisited by Ackers. His client struggled to love or trust anyone and was a vulnerable young man who needed guidance and was remorseful, the court was told.

DC Leila Whittle, of Bournemouth CID, said it was a “truly horrific and terrifying incident”, adding: “Nobody deserves to be violently assaulted and I hope this case demonstrates we are committed to protecting victims who are sadly exposed to this type of behaviour.

“Dorset Police takes domestic abuse extremely seriously and we will do everything we can to support victims and secure justice for violent offenders.

“I would like to take this opportunity to reach out to anyone suffering from domestic abuse during the festive period and reassure you that we are here for you and will investigate any report made to us.”

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