A broken eye socket, a fractured cheekbone, permanent nerve damage, a deep cut on the ear, bruising and PTSD. These are the injuries 21-year-old student Paige Hegarty suffered after her boyfriend, Elliot Beckwith, also 21, assaulted her last April. He is not going to prison.
The attack happened after an argument at a nightclub, which continued at Beckwith’s Huddersfield flat. Here, Beckwith punched Hegarty twice after she slapped him. Hegarty threw his phone, which caused him to “flip”. He punched her repeatedly before strangling her until she passed out. When Hegarty came back to consciousness, Beckwith hit her again and continuously banged her head against the wooden floor.
Hegarty woke up a second time to find her attacker sitting next to her, having called the police and an ambulance. “That’s it,” he said, according to reports, “I won’t be a teacher now or anything thanks to you.”
'I was unconscious, bleeding on the floor. I thought I was dying'
“I was unconscious, bleeding on the floor. I thought I was dying,” explained Hegarty, following the trial, “I tried to sit up but fell back down.” She has now released images of her devastating injuries, and despite it all, still graduated from Huddersfield University.
Beckwith’s original charge of grievous bodily harm with intent was lowered to just GBH, to which he pleaded guilty, and he received a 16-month suspended sentence. Instead of jail time, he has been given a curfew, 20 days of rehabilitation and 250 hours of community service – a sentence Hegarty is furious at. “It was lowered so he could plead guilty and he has not received jail time. This should not be allowed, it happens too many times,” she told The Sun. “I would say he’s a monster. I hope his life is as bad as he’s made mine.”
The decision to reduce Beckwith’s charge was made because he suffers with psychiatric problems, and, according to his defence, he was awaiting treatment at the time of the attack.
Hegarty feels she has been let down repeatedly – by the prosecution service, the man she loved and mental health services. How many more women must be let down before domestic violence is taken as a serious offence?