Young woman was made to eat pet food

Blackpool Magistrates' Court
Blackpool Magistrates' Court
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A young victim was taken in by another woman who subjected her to a catalogue of “ongoing degredation” including forcing her to eat pet food repeatedly kicking her and attacking her with a metal pole, a court heard.

Julie Davies took the victim, who was 20 years younger than her, into her home, but then began to dominate her every moment.

It was years before social services reacted to neighbours’ fears about what was going on at the seaside terraced house on Elizabeth Street, Blackpool, that they shared.

But when police did intervene and the authorities got involved they discovered what one senior probation officer called the “worst case of abuse I have ever come across.”

The victim has now started a new life as, despite being over 30 years of age, had to be found a foster home because she had the mental age of a toddler.

An investigation into her plight revealed she was not allowed baths. She had to urinate in a bucket and she was beaten with a metal pole kept for the purpose.

She was also made to stand out in the rain in her bare feet and was forced to eat pet food.

It took 10 years for the victim to gain her freedom.

Davies – also known by the surname Sweeney – formerly ran a second hand shop in the town. The 52-year-old, now of Lytham Road, admitted two charges of assaulting the woman at their home in March last year.

The assaults were caused by kicking her 31-year-old victim and then battering her on the arms and legs with the metal pole.

Pam Smith, prosecuting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court, said: “These two people met in Wigan and when the defendant came to live in Blackpool the victim came with her. They have been together around 10 years.

“After they came to Blackpool neighbours reported concerns about what was going on- that (the victim) was in fear of the defendant and suffering abuse. The police public protection unit and other authorities became involved. (The victim) was twice interviewed and told police about the ongoing situation and how she had been hit with a metal bar. (The victim) was in the police view in an extremely vulnerable position.”

When she was arrested Davies told police she knew she had done wrong.

Her lawyer Martin Hillson told the court: “This is a very sad siutation. It has been portrayed as one woman - the aggrieved- who has a problem but in fact both do. My client has her own health issues.”

“I believe there should have been intervention from the authorities at an earlier stage. My client accepts she reacts in an irrational way in some situations and she accepts the violence was not justified.”

Chairman of the bench Mrs Sylvia Kirby told Davies:”You inflicted repeated and sustained attacks on your victim and subjected her to ongoing degradation. You showed no evidence of remorse.”

Davies was given a 23 week jail term suspended for a year and made the subject of a restraining order forbidding her to contact the victim.

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