EXCLUSIVE: Victim recounts horrific injuries after ex partner is jailed
SPECIAL REPORT by MAGGIE GIBSON I REMEMBER my face being split open. I remember the cigarette being flicked in my eye. I remember going into the kitchen where I noticed blood pouring down my face. I remember walking out of the kitchen when he walked in.
SPECIAL REPORT by MAGGIE GIBSON
"I REMEMBER my face being split open. I remember the cigarette being flicked in my eye.
"I remember going into the kitchen where I noticed blood pouring down my face. I remember walking out of the kitchen when he walked in. I remember him pushing me from behind. I remember not wanting him anywhere near me or my son.
"I remember him coming up the stairs asking what I was doing as if nothing had happened." These are the words of a woman whose ex-partner started a 10 month prison sentence on Friday for assaulting her. Jena Sharpe hopes by talking publically about her horrific ordeal she will give others the courage to change their lives. As in so many similar cases Jena says she suffered other attacks before going to the police - she thought each attack would be the last. The 39-year-old of Tavistock Road, Wisbech, is still awaiting surgery after last July's assault. She had to have both internal and external stitching to her face; she suffered a broken nose and severe bruising to her face, neck, arms and body.
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She has been left with two scars on her face, loss of feeling around her right eye, a tooth extraction because the injury to her right cheek caused the nerves to die, and surgery to correct the alignment of her nose.
Adam Anthony Yates, 45, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm on Ms Sharpe. He was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court on Friday and now Ms Sharpe hopes she can get on with her life.
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Ms Sharpe says she was swept off her feet by Yates after they met in Spain while she was on holiday there in July 2006. Yates was living in Spain and they kept in touch. The couple eventually moved in together in a house in Outwell after Yates returned to this country.
She said: "I have spent the last eight months looking over what has happened to me, and the life my son and I were subjected to while living with Adam Anthony Yates. His controlling ways and violent temper turned me into a nervous wreck. "The violence started on inanimate objects at first, floor tiles smashed, TV thrown on the floor, doors broken off their hinges, and then he started on me. Grabbing around my windpipe so that I could hardly breathe, pulling me down the stairs, bruising on my arms, body and legs. He wondered why I wouldn't talk to him after all that, all I wanted to say was 'Get out of my house'. The threats of 'I'll kill you if you ever leave me' or 'I'll smash up this house' were totally believable." Ms Sharpe says just months before the assault in July she had been attacked by Yates and had her nose broken. She says: "He admitted it to the police but I decided not to press charges. I went back to him because he was in my house and would not leave. I was frightened and shocked and did not want to believe he was capable of that. I believed him when he said it would not happen again.
"Going back was the worst mistake I have ever made; it gave him carte blanche in his eyes to carry on. Hanging someone you love out of a window or over a banister are not the actions of a normal person."
Ms Sharpe has nothing but praise for the police and other agencies involved in helping her cope with the months since the assault. She said: "It has been very stressful but they have been brilliant. I want to let others know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, it is scary but I have come out the other side and others can too."
The Special Victims Unit for Norfolk Police deals with cases like Ms Sharpe's and involves other professionals to help victims cope.
PC Ami Moreland works for the unit. Commenting on the case, she said: "It was a nasty assault and when I saw her I could see she was in a bad way. I could see she was probably going to be physically scarred."
PC Moreland called Ms Sharpe "a shining example" of someone who was prepared to go through the process of taking a partner to court. She said the police were pleased the outcome had been a custodial sentence.
She said: "We try to bring in support from other agencies with professionals to help. It can be a daunting process but we have advocacy workers who support victims through the court process."
However, PC Moreland and her colleagues recognise that there are real reasons why some people are reluctant to take action - these could be financial or because there are children involved.
She says it is all too easy for people to criticise those who won't take action. She said: "A lot of times it has become a normal way of life for people."
The unit monitors prison release dates and keeps victims up to date. It can also help with safety measures, access issues and injunctions after release.
PC Moreland said: "We are not judgemental, we are a specialist unit and we do understand. It can affect anyone from any walk of life, of any gender and of any social background."
Police Emergency: 999
Police non Emergency: 0845 456 4567
Women's Aid Helpline: 0808 2000 247
Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90
Victim Support: 0845 30 30 900
Advocacy Service for Norfolk: 01553 665 035