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Thug stamped on pregnant girlfriend and bit a chunk from his mum's face

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Owen Ackers faces up to 12 years in jail
Owen Ackers faces up to 12 years in jail

A THUG stamped so hard on his pregnant girlfriend he left an imprint of his shoe on her stomach before he bit off a chunk of his mum’s face and spat it out, a court heard.

Owen Ackers (23), from Burton, faces a jail sentence for a “savage” 30-minute attack during the first national lockdown against Sapphire Bassett, his then-girlfriend who was 18 weeks’ pregnant, and his mother Diane.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard Ackers, who has a history of violence against women, had drunk vodka and taken cocaine on the day of the attack on 21st April.

Ackers became aggressive late that night when his mother tried to take away his bottle of vodka. He chased her up the stairs of her Lineside home and into the bathroom, punching her in the side of the face, prosecutor Susan Cavender said.

When Ms Bassett grabbed him, he set about her, pulling out “clumps” of her hair, the court was told.

“Sapphire Bassett was on her back and he stamped repeatedly on her head, shoulders, and upper chest until she was unconscious,” Mrs Cavender continued.

“The stamping was sufficient to leave an imprint of his shoe on her stomach.”

When Diane tried to stop Ackers he turned back on her, Mrs Cavender added.

“He punched her again before biting her hard in an area of her forehead between her eyebrows. He bit her hard enough to remove a large chuck of her flesh between her eyebrows,” Mrs Cavender said, and Ackers spat it out on the floor.

Ackers was furiously shouting that he thought Ms Bassett was dead, and he screamed at his mother: “You’ve f***ed up my life so now I’m going to f*** up yours.”

According to his mother, she feared for her life when Ackers went downstairs and re-entered the bathroom with two knives.

She recalled, Mrs Cavender added, that he used one to stab himself, before jumping out of the window when police came, around half an hour after Diane and neighbours had alerted officers.

Ackers was later found shirtless in bushes around 300 metres from his mother’s house, and initially claimed he had been dumped there by someone. Ms Bassett remained unconscious until police arrived at the home, the court heard.

Both women were rushed to hospital. Diane’s injuries included severe bruising over her face and body and a dislocated finger.

Her face will be permanently scarred from her son’s bite.

Ms Bassett, who has since had the baby without problems, suffered bruising and had to return to hospital two weeks after the attack for treatment for concussion.

In a victim impact statement, Diane said: “I have never been as petrified and as scared in my life as I was that night. He could have killed me.”

She said she had “lost” the defendant as a son, suffered sleepiness nights, was on anti-depressants and feared what he may do to her in the future.

Ackers has a history of violence, including domestic assault incidents against Ms Bassett, Mrs Cavender outlined. At the time of the April offences, he was the subject of a court order which banned him from seeing her.

The court heard he was previously convicted for punching and kicking her in Christchurch High Street and smashing her mobile phone in 2017, for which he had been hit with an indefinite restraining order.

In 2019 he was convicted of breaching that order in relation to another alleged assault that did not make it to trial. He has yet to be sentenced for the breach.

The couple have been dating for many years, the prosecutor said, but had got back together in early 2020. Mrs Cavender said their relationship was beset by his “jealousy” and on the day of the April attacks Ackers had been contacted by an ex-partner of hers.

He had also grown frustrated at not having a job and being “broke”, she added.

Ackers initially denied the two charges of causing Ms Bassett and his mother grievous bodily harm with intent.

He was due to stand trial at Bournemouth Crown Court on Tuesday. But as the prosecutor stood to begin the evidence in front of the jury, Ackers signalled to his defence barrister, Kevin Hill, that he wanted to have a conference with him.

After a brief adjournment Mr Hill came back into court and indicated his client wanted to plead guilty to both charges.

Mr Hill told the court his client was a care leaver, who had witnessed “abuse” growing up. He suggested pre-sentence reports should be conducted on Ackers to get the context of his offending.

Judge Robert Pawson suggested the assaults could be seen as a “savage attack” and was a “very serious incident”.

While he was prepared to give Ackers some credit for sparing two “vulnerable victims” from giving evidence, the judge said the defendant could face up to 12 years in jail.

Judge Pawson adjourned the matter until 21st December, reserving the sentencing exercise to himself. Dismissing the jury, he told them: “This sentence is going to be many years, and having heard what you have heard, nobody should be surprised.”

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