A woman police officer’s criminal boyfriend beat her up repeatedly and threatened to set her on fire.
But despite him already being spared jail for a series of assaults, judges have now cut his suspended prison sentence to just four months because they ruled the original sentence was too harsh.
This is sending out the wrong message to victims – many people will think why bother?Valerie Wise
Today, Valerie Wise, of Preston Domestic Violence Service, described the situation as “appalling”.
She said: “This is sending out the wrong message to victims – many people will think why bother?”
Christopher Moore, 28, subjected the former police officer, from Leyland, to various terrifying ordeals in 2014 – but she still went back to him, the appeal court in London heard.
Moore already had an criminal record, including harassment of another former partner, cruelty to a child and inflicting grievous bodily harm.
He had previously served two stretches in jail when he got together with the constable in 2013.
Within two years he had been convicted of nine offences of violence against the woman, who has since left Lancashire Police, including biting, punching and kicking her and trapping her hand in an electric car window, Mr Justice Edis told London’s Appeal Court.
Appeal judges heard he pleaded guilty to four counts of common assault at Preston Crown Court and was handed a 12- month suspended sentence in February last year.
But in February this year, he was back before the court again and admitted a string of similar offences including doused her in petrol and threatening her with a lit blowtorch.
They included three common assaults and two counts of criminal damage and, that time, he was handed a short jail term, from which he has since been freed.
But now the Appeal Court has reduced his earlier suspended 12-month term to just four months, describing the original sentence as “unlawful”.
Moore had initially been charged with more serious offences, but his guilty pleas were accepted after his victim refused to testify against him, said Mr Justice Edis.
It meant the 12-month suspended sentence was double what the law allowed for the lesser offences of common assault and so the sentence was cut to four months to give Moore credit for his guilty pleas.
His partner had made complaints to the police but later refused to co-operate with the prosecution, even writing a letter to the crown court judge, begging him not to jail Moore, as she said she wanted their relationship to continue.
Mr Justice Edis said: “Repeated bullying violence against a single victim, exploiting a relationship, is serious, even when no serious physical injury occurs.”
Mr Edis, sitting with Lady Justice Sharp and Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC, said that Moore and the ex-police officer “may still be together”.
The couple had lived at the leafy Holland House estate in Walton-le-Dale at the time but the house, on Holland House Court, was sold nearly two years ago.
The Evening Post was unable to contact either of them via solicitors.
In the February case, Preston Crown Court heard that Moore, whose last known address was Cumberland Avenue, Leyland, drove her down a country lane and punched her in the head as he raged at her, on the way to a friend’s wedding.
He also admitted two charges of criminal damage related to him cutting up her clothes and on one occasion smashing her laptop after she had been to a wedding.
On that occasion he had disconnected a part on her car to stop her going but she established the problem and the issue was fixed.
When she returned home later, he said she would have to sleep in her car, then said he had cut up her clothes and smashed her new laptop.
Preston police’s public protection unit, which deals with domestic violence, launched a probe into incidents between March and August last year.
Valerie Wise, of Preston Domestic Violence Service, said: “This is sending out the wrong message to victims – many people will think why bother?
“No wonder she didn’t want to give evidence against him.
“If this is a case where they are responding to what the guidelines say, the law needs to be reviewed to ensure it reflects the real situation and a proper understanding of the nature of domestic abuse. It is very difficult for victims to give evidence.”