Brave domestic abuse victim shares her story as partner jailed over attack
**WARNING: this story contains images some people may find upsetting**
A brave domestic violence survivor has said she wants people to see the sickening injuries suffered at the hands of her partner in the hope it will encourage other victims of behind-closed-doors abuse to seek help.
Lynn Hart was left with extensive bruising across her face and body following the vicious beating from boyfriend of three years David Harrison in May this year.
The 53-year-old’s eyes were swollen shut for days following the attack and when visiting her GP she was taken through the surgery’s back door to avoid upsetting other patients.
Thug Harrison flew into a rage on the morning of 5 May at his flat in Summit Place, Lower Gornal, after returning with alcohol from a nearby shop.
He repeatedly punched Ms Hart in the face before using a TV sound bar as a weapon to continue the onslaught - and while she lay defenceless on the floor cruel Harrison stamped and spat at his partner.
It was the latest in a catalogue of violent outbursts - and the final straw for Lynn who reported the attack to West Midlands Police.
Harrison, aged 52, was arrested the following day and initially pleaded his innocence by suggesting Lynn had fallen down a flight of stairs.
However, West Midlands Police charged him with wounding and at Wolverhampton Crown Court on 3 September he was jailed for seven years after admitting the charge.
Lynn now wants to share her story - and shocking images of her injuries taken shortly after the assault - in the hope other domestic abuse survivors will seek help from the police and support groups.
She said: “I genuinely thought he was going to kill me: he just kept punching me in the face and then picked up the TV speaker and used that to hit me. I don’t remember how I got out of the flat… it’s all a blur.
“I went to my son’s house where he called the ambulance and police. I love David, that’s why I stayed with him through the beatings, in the hope he’d change… but I knew my life was in danger if I stayed with him and enough was enough.
“We moved in together about six months after meeting and at first everything was great. But he was a heavy drinker and slowly things started going wrong. First it was verbal abuse, putting me down and telling me things like ‘your family don’t love you, only I love you’.
“But then he started with the physical attacks… and they got worse over time. I would put on extra make-up and come up with excuses for anyone who saw through the concealer.
“I loved him and wanted him to change… and each time he’d apologise and tell me it would never happen again. But I also thought there’s no point reporting it to the police as it would be my word against his, I wouldn’t be believed, and he’d then beat me even more. But that proved to be wrong and the police had enough to convict him.
“Looking back I should have got the police involved earlier but it’s easy to say in hindsight. They supported me from the moment I reported it, believed in me - that was important - and guided me through the court process.
“There might be thousands of people in the West Midlands in the position I was in, torn between their love for a partner but every day scared they could be assaulted for no reason, just a stray look or word. Or even no reason at all.
“What I’d say is get help. It’s unlikely their abusive partner will suddenly just change - so speak to support groups like Women’s Aid and speak to the police. They can help you escape violent situations and come out the other side.
“I know how difficult breaking away can be but I truly feel that if I’d have stayed with David any longer I would have ended up dead."
West Midlands Police Detective Inspector Catherine Webb-Jones, from the force’s Public Protection Unit, said: “Harrison’s abusive behaviour escalated over time yet Lynn hoped he would change; she chose not to support prosecutions in the past through fear and in the hope his aggression and violence would stop.
“It didn’t stop. Harrison proved to be a monster in drink with alcohol often being the trigger for his offending.
“Lynn’s appeal comes from the heart: victims of abuse need to find the courage to seek support… don’t suffer alone and don’t tolerate abuse. Lynn is a survivor and others victims can take comfort and seek their own solace from the courage she has shown.
“West Midlands Police will seek to safeguard vulnerable people from further harm as well as identify the triggers of abuse. Via referrals to support groups and charities such as Women’s Aid, we can support victims to take action to prevent further harm, and via offender interventions will address the causes of domestic abuse in the hope of changing their behaviour."
RESPECT is a group that can help identify the root causes of domestic abuse and work with perpetrators to change; they can be contacted at respect.uk.net or 0808 802 4040.
Women’s Aid supports victims of domestic abuse: womensaid.org.uk or 0808 2000 247.
To speak to a specially trained WMP Public Protection officer call 101 or Live Chat at WMP Online.