‘I needed closure’ - domestic violence victim ‘let down’ by justice system after missing abuser’s sentencing
PUBLISHED: 09:29 22 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:03 22 May 2020
Court officials have apologised to a victim of domestic violence after she was not able to watch her abuser being jailed.
Lindsay Bagshaw, 49, from Lowestoft, suffered 18 months of abuse from her ex-partner which culminated in a brutal attack that made her fear for her life.
Her attacker, 52-year-old Shaun Davey, was jailed for two years and given a ten year restraining order after a trial at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday, May 18.
He plead guilty to causing grievous bodily harm without intent for an attack where he smothered Ms Bagshaw with a pillow, rammed her head into a concrete plant pot, and dislocated her shoulder.
But failings in the trial where Ms Bagshaw had hoped to find closure left her feeling “traumatised by the crown prosecution service (CPS)”.
On the day of the trial Ms Bagshaw was anxiously sat at her laptop with her daughter and best friend for moral support, awaiting a judge’s verdict after more than four months of investigations and legal proceedings.
She said: “I was told I would get a call on the day and be given a link to watch the trial. But by 4pm I hadn’t heard anything from the courts.
“I wasn’t able to sleep the night before, and I was devastated. I was able to see online the sentencing had finished at 3.55pm, and I thought why haven’t I been informed?
“I didn’t find out he had been sentenced until 6.30pm when I read social media posts and reports in the news. It was embarrassing not to know and I was frightened that Shaun could have been let loose that evening and I wouldn’t know.”
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Ms Bagshaw said she called the courts several times on Monday, and was told she would only get a response within two days.
“By Wednesday, I still had not been contacted. The system has let me down and my poor kids,” she said.
“The importance of doing it right was facing it and dealing with all the emotions. I needed it for closure and I feel I’ve had something major in my life excluded from me.
“The justice system is there to put things to bed, and none of this has been.”
Now court chiefs have apologised to Ms Bagshaw, saying challenges to working through the coronavirus lockdown were to blame.
A spokesman said: “It is with regret that the complainant in the case was not in attendance via Skype for the sentence hearing. The court is currently introducing new ways of working to ensure that the justice system continues to work throughout these unprecedented and challenging times.
“Staff are under immense pressure at the moment and unfortunately the email request from the CPS for the complainant to be present via Skype was not actioned in time. For this we apologise.
“We have put in place an immediate review of how our current working practices can be improved to ensure that this does not happen again. The court will be liaising with the complainant to allow her access to the audio recording should she wish to hear it.”
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However Ms Bagshaw says she does not accept the apology, and will be lodging a formal complaint with the courts.
“They had all my contact information so there is no real excuse to this,” she said.
“The CPS are letting down not only me but all of the police officers, detectives and volunteers who did the hard work to get Shaun convicted.
“Unfortunately we live in a world where the treatment of domestic violence victims is not always as straightforward as meets the eye, and the poor excuse for ‘justice’ will never ever compensate the trauma.”
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