Man sentenced to three years in prison for breaking girlfriend's jaw
- Credit: Herts police
A man who left his girlfriend with a fractured jaw and a haematoma on her ear has been sentenced to three years imprisonment following a trial St Albans Crown Court.
Marcin Rodo, aged 42, of De Havilland Close in Hatfield, was previously found guilty of grievous bodily harm (GBH) in January 2020 and ABH in November 2019.
After being violently assaulted by Rodo the victim sought support from her employer, reality TV star and St Albans business owner, Luisa Zissman.
Detective inspector Claire Richardson from the Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (DAISU) said: “Luisa has thoroughly supported the police investigation. Without her intervention, the victim could have been more seriously injured or worse.”
Luisa said: “Don’t be afraid to call the police. Fantastic specialist support is out there. No one should feel alone or vulnerable. Investigator Debra Straughn has been the victim’s cheerleader and has helped her every step of the way.
“As a bystander, I knew I wasn’t helpless. It was reassuring to know that something could - and had - to be done, even without her wanting to press charges. I saw someone I knew being hurt and I wanted to help.”
Ms Straughn, an investigator in the Specialist Safeguarding Unit with the Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (DAISU), said: “Sadly, the victim thought Rodo’s behaviour towards her was normal.
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"But for us, it is not just about convictions, it is also about breaking that all-consuming cycle of control and abuse, and in turn empowering victims.
“A year later at court, I didn’t recognise Rodo’s victim, who was full of confidence. I want to pay tribute to her bravery and I wish her all the very best for her new life. I know I have done my job in helping her escape this abuse.”
DI Richardson from DAISU said: “I hope news of this case empowers people who suspect a friend, employee or neighbour are experiencing domestic abuse or coercive and controlling behaviour.”
The victim confided in Luisa when Rodo fractured her jaw and she was hospitalised with a haematoma the size of an egg on her ear, which was as a result of Rodo twisting it when he said she didn’t listen. Rodo was arrested and charged with GBH in January last year.
During the victim’s stay in hospital, Debra was able to help her find a refuge. This was complicated by the victim’s immigration status as she was in the UK on a work visa with no right to Government support. Debra managed to obtain the victim a place in an interim unit and began the correct procedures to ensure she received all the help and support she needed.
The court heard that the couple had been in a relationship for 17 years and they had moved to England five years ago, leaving the victim’s daughter in Poland on Rodo’s instruction. They lived in a multi-occupancy converted garage with other Polish immigrants.
Back in November 2019, Debra visited the address following an assault during which it was later proved that Rodo had shaved the victim’s head against her will. When she did not answer the door, Debra climbed over the fence as she was concerned for her safety. She could see a gap in the kitchen window and managed to speak to the victim. This was the first time Rodo was arrested and he was subsequently charged with Actual Bodily Harm (ABH).
Debra said: “Nothing had prepared me for the horrific conditions the victim was living in. The converted garage was oppressive; there was no bed, heating or electricity and her clothes were left outside. Rodo also ordered her to sleep in the dog kennel when he claimed she did not listen to him.
“In my 15 years working in domestic abuse, this is a case that will stay with me forever – the language barrier and the fact that the victim believed that Rodo loved her and his behaviour was OK made it even more challenging, but that made us more determined to seek help for her.”
Detective constable Dave Coombes oversaw the criminal investigation including taking an extensive statement from Luisa ,which was integral in convincing the Crown Prosecution Service to charge Rodo as an evidence-led prosecution.
Rodo was sentenced on December 4, 2020 and he will remain on licence when released. A recommendation has been made to deport him to Poland when he has served his sentence.