If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
Ex-Pc jailed for unborn baby attack
A former police constable who repeatedly punched his pregnant ex-girlfriend to try to bring on a miscarriage has been jailed for 10 years.
Matthew Cherry, 35, used a balaclava and a fake foreign accent to launch the "savage attack" at Caroline Craft's ground-floor flat in Bournemouth, Dorset.
He punched her in the stomach and back, targeting her unborn child and leaving her "bloodied and bruised", but she was not seriously harmed and gave birth to a boy - now 15 months old.
Cherry was angry and upset that Miss Craft, 27, also a police officer, would not have an abortion and the pair split up, Winchester Crown Court heard during the eight-day trial.
Cherry, now living in Southampton, denied attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent in March last year in the "well-planned" attack. But the jury convicted him, rejecting his claim that he was not the attacker and was several miles away renovating a house.
Miss Craft was six months pregnant when she answered the door to a masked attacker on March 24, thinking it was an estate agent coming to view her flat.
Matthew Jewell, prosecuting, said: "Caroline Craft then heard a knock on the door of her flat. She opened the door, which was then pushed violently from outside, and she was either pushed or punched to the floor. She was then attacked with multiple punches to her stomach and back, in a way which targeted her unborn child. She shouted for help and a gloved hand was placed over her mouth. She was also kicked.
"She pointed out valuable items in case this was a robbery or burglary but her attacker showed no interest in taking anything. She was dragged into the bathroom and forced to sit on the toilet. The male said he would tie her up. She was absolutely terrified about what was happening to her in her own home." The attack only ended because the estate agent turned up and Cherry fled, using a back door as he knew the block well and had owned the flat before selling it to Miss Craft.
Cherry, who resigned from Dorset Police in November last year, shook his head and burst into tears as the jury delivered it unanimous verdict after more than seven hours of deliberation.
The Recorder of Winchester, Judge Keith Cutler, told Cherry: "It was a pernicious and evil attack. On your part there was a high degree of planning. It was clear that you used your skills and training as a police officer to ensure your phone was left to give yourself an alibi and you masked your appearance."