Don't suffer in silence warns Welwyn Garden City domestic violence victim
PUBLISHED: 11:36 21 November 2016 | UPDATED: 11:36 21 November 2016
A Welwyn Garden City mum is urging other victims of domestic violence to seek help after she was beaten so badly she was left on the brink of being in a coma.
Her attacker, Terrance Harwood, has been jailed for 14 years and five months after what police described as “one of the worst cases of domestic violence” they have ever dealt with.
The 32-year-old victim, a mum of two who lives in Welwyn Garden City, suffered a fractured skull, brain injury, bleeding on the brain, a fractured and dislocated shoulder, broken ribs down her left side, a punctured lung and a punctured valve in her heart. Harwood, 38, of Spring Glen, Hatfield, was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court after admitting grievous bodily harm with intent, three counts of common assault, one count of actual bodily harm and criminal damage.
He was arrested on Christmas Eve last year after he inflicted such serious injuries on his victim that she had to spend four months in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. He also assaulted four other people on the same evening.
At about 5am on Christmas Eve, Harwood forced his way into the victim’s house in WGC by smashing through the patio doors.
He then attacked the victim’s friend who was in the house at the time causing facial injuries.
Harwood then attacked the victim while she was holding her child, causing her to lose consciousness. Harwood and the victim are known to each other.
After attacking his victim, he then forced his way into the house opposite before assaulting three further people inside causing injuries to them.
His victim, a stay-at-home mum, told the WHT: “I was in bed asleep when I heard violent banging. It woke up my child and I picked him up. I then heard the back door being smashed through and then he [Harwood] was at the top of the stairs and I got hit around the head.
“Nothing was said. He launched at me straight away. He looked absolutely crazed. He had a really evil look in his eye and I just wanted to protect my child.
“I was clinging on to my child and I had another whack to the head.
“I can kind of remember being pulled down the stairs by my feet and he carried on hitting and kicking me.
“It didn’t stop. It was like he was trying to kill me.”
After that, the mum can only remember waking up in hospital thinking it was Christmas day when in fact it was February.
She said: “In hospital they told me I had virtually been in a coma. I couldn’t walk or talk at first. I had to learn to walk and talk again and I couldn’t eat. I had to be tube fed.
“I didn’t really get my balance back until about June.”
Investigating Officer Detective Constable Sonja Townsend, from Welwyn Hatfield’s Local Crime Unit led the investigation into this crime. She said: “This is one of the worst cases of domestic violence I have ever dealt with and it is a miracle that the female victim recovered as she has. At one point we feared she would have significant life changing injuries.
“I am pleased with the outcome of today’s sentencing as Terrance Harwood is dangerous and deserves to be locked up for a significant period of time to consider his violent actions that Christmas Eve morning.
“I would encourage anyone who believes someone may be suffering at the hands of someone else, be it in a domestic or other setting, to contact police as soon as possible. You will be listened to and we will take your call extremely seriously and confidentially.”
The victim wants other domestic violence suffers to seek help. She said: “I feel if I had reported some violence before, he wouldn’t have been able to come to the address. But because I hadn’t shared what happened, there was nothing in place.
“You never know how things are going to end up, so do something about it while you have control. It doesn’t just affect you, it affects the whole family.”
• The Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline is 08 088 088 088
You can also visit www.hertssunflower.org