‘I didn’t punch her’

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A man has admitted mistreating and holding prisoner a vulnerable woman with the mental age of a child in a Blackpool flat.

Preston Crown Court heard Fraser Gallagher was “not proud” of what he had done to the 34-year-old victim but insisted he did not punch her in the mouth.

Prosecutors said the victim, who has significant learning difficulties, was subjected to a series of sickening assaults including being zapped with two prongs of an electronic fly killer, forced to swallow tablets, made to drink washing up liquid, punched and had her hair cut.

The court heard in one attack the woman was punched so hard she was left with a serious tear in her upper lip.

Three people were involved in keeping the victim locked up in a flat on Central Drive, between August 13 and 17 last year, prosecutors said.

Gallagher, of Hardridge Road, Glasgow, and Derek Buchanan, 18 of Shannon Street, Blackpool, admit false imprisonment, administering a poison or noxious substance with intent and possessing a prohibited weapon.

But 20-year-old Gallagher denies unlawful wounding by punching the woman in the face.

Co-accused Suzannah Bertram, 32, who lives in the flat on Central Drive where the victim was held, denies charges of false imprisonment, administering a poison or noxious substance with intent, possessing a prohibited weapon and unlawful wounding.

She has pleaded guilty to a separate charge of unlawful wounding despite not being present at court.

In his evidence, Gallagher was asked by his barrister Brian Williams: “You took part in some nasty behaviour. How do you feel about that?”

Gallagher replied “not proud at all”.

He accepted having lied to the police, explaining “because I wasn’t proud of what I had done. I didn’t want to own up to it”.

He denied hitting the woman in the face, claiming that Bertram was responsible for that.

The court had earlier been told that when cautioned, Bertram had said: “If I wanted her to hurt herself I could do a lot worse to her”.

(Proceeding)

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