Originally published at Feminist Times.


Between 16-19 December Feminist Times is joining Refuge in remembering the tragic death of Maria Stubbings with a series of articles on domestic violence.

In October this year, domestic violence made the front page of the UK Metro, a free newspaper with a daily circulation of more than a million copies.

“Punch a horse, get jailed for a year. Punch the stomach of pregnant girlfriend (who coincidentally loses her baby the next day), get 16 weeks”, read the sensational subheading.

23-year-old Ryan Guntrip was jailed for just 16 weeks after punching his pregnant girlfriend, 20-year-old Carina Mackay, in the stomach. Despite admitting assault by beating, Guntrip was jailed for just 16 weeks because there  was no way of proving the attack had caused the miscarriage.

In the same week as Guntrip’s sentencing, a Newcastle United fan was jailed for 12 months for punching a police horse. The shocking disparity between sentences made this story front page news, but it was not an isolated injustice. We took a look at some other examples of pitiful sentences for domestic violence in 2013 and compared them to sentencing for other crimes.

Sentence: 16 weeks

Domestic Violence:


Name: Jubel Miah

Crime: Common assault by beating, committed against his wife

Sentence: 16 weeks

Case details: ”Miah…ripped her tongue, kicked and punched her, inflicted black eyes on her and battered her confidence. He also tracked her movements using his mobile phone, tried to stop her going to college, accused her of cheating… The wife finally escaped from his clutches after he subjected her to a sustained attack in which he stabbed her with scissors and hit her with a dumbell.”

Same Sentence:


Name: Simon Peter Davison

Crime: Meat theft

Sentence: 16 weeks

Case details: Stealing meat and other goods from Tesco, B&Q and Sainsbury’s stores, to the value of around £350.


Sentence: 4 months

Domestic Violence:



Name: Nicholas Jackson

Crime: Threatening behaviour and two counts of criminal damage against his former partner

Sentence: Four months

Case details: Jackson, who had previous convictions for arson and threatening to kill two former partners, walked free from court earlier this month because he had already served his fourth-month jail sentence in custody.

Same Sentence:


Name: Jack Scorby Armstrong

Crime: Perverting the course of justice

Sentence: Four months

Case details: The 20-year-old driver falsely told police his number plates had been stolen in a bid to escape a speeding fine.


Sentence: Suspended

Domestic Violence:



Name: Merlin Seagroatt

Crime: Assault causing actual bodily harm and criminal damage

Sentence: Suspended

Case details: Seagroatt “got into the room by taking a door off its hinges and attacked her again, telling her: ‘I’m going to kill you. I have always wanted to kill someone.’”

Judge Peter Heywood said: “There are always ups and downs in a relationship. You can’t behave like this towards ladies you are in a relationship with.”

Same Sentence:


Name: Tariq Al Habtoor

Crime: Dognapping

Sentence: Suspended

Case details: Billionaire’s son Al Habtoor gave away his chocolate Labrador Ozzy to a fellow student. After changing his mind, Al Habtoor offered her £1,500 to buy the dog back. When she refused, he dognapped Ozzy in a ‘military-style’ operation, which he live-tweeted.


Sentence: 30 months

Domestic Violence:

dv5Name: Gareth Stemp

Crime: Eight counts of assault and two counts of assault and abduction

Sentence: 30 months

Case details: Gareth Stemp was convicted of ten separate charges over an eight-year “campaign of abuse and terror” on four partners since 2004, including one who was pregnant.

Same Sentence:

800px-Cricket_ball_on_grassName: Salman Butt

Crime: Match fixing

Sentence: 30 months

Case details: Former Pakistan cricket captain Salman Butt was jailed for conspiracy to deliberately bowl no-balls during last year’s Test match against England.

Sentence: 4 years

Domestic Violence:

DV1Name: Yacoub Rezai

Crime: Manslaughter of his wife Reihana Rezayi

Sentence: Four years

Case details: Rezai, who stabbed his wife to death, was found not guilty of murder because “he never intended causing serious injury”.

The court heard Rezai believed his wife had been cheating, and five days before her death she had asked for a divorce. Rezai’s defence counsel, Bobbie Cheema QC, likened the offence to “a crime of passion”. Sentencing, Judge Michael Pert QC said: “It’s clear on the evidence you had a happy marriage and were a good, placid and kind husband.”

Same Sentence:

FBNames: Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan

Crime: Using Facebook to incite disorder

Sentence: Four years

Case details: Blackshaw and Sutcliffe-Keenan were jailed  for using Faceback to incite disorder during the 2011 riots, despite the fact neither of their Facebook posts resulted in a riot-related event.


And finally, a bit of Christmas cheer…

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 13.35.12

Neighbours witnessed John Reece punching his partner and dragging her down the road by her hair. She suffered a broken jaw, cuts and bruises to her face, legs and feet. Recorder Timothy Spencer said: “It’s about to be Christmas and this [suspended sentence] is your Christmas present.”

It seems that, at Christmas time, even Santa is a harsher judge than the British Criminal Justice System – we all know bad boys shouldn’t get any presents.

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