A businessman has been found guilty of “frightening and cruel acts of violence” when their relationship broke down in the Covid pandemic.
Scott Richards, 32, “submerged” Kathryn Rich’s head underwater in the bath at their home after she finished her shift as a hospital nurse.
The couple’s 11-year romance hit the rocks when the national lockdown started last year, a jury was told.
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The incident happened when Ms Rich, 40, was following NHS guidelines to have a bath after finishing a 12-hour shift at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant.
Prosecutor Rosamund Rutter said: “The defendant subjected his partner to frightening and cruel acts of violence, which may be partly due to the lockdown. He pushed her head into the bath water and held it down.
“She could not breathe and desperately tried to pull her head back but the defendant had a firm grip.”
Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard Ms Rich rang police to say her partner had tried to drown her on April 4 last year. She also told them about an incident on March 24, the day after the national lockdown started, when Richards headbutted her after finding a “personal note” about her feelings towards a work colleague.
Miss Rutter told the jury: “The defendant took the contents to mean she was being unfaithful. Believing your partner has been unfaithful is a source of pain but it does not excuse, and never will excuse, violence against a partner.”
The domestic violence happened against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. Richards closed his martial arts business and Ms Rich was doing 12-hour shifts at the hospital.
The newly-qualified mental health nurse told the court: “Covid had just hit and we were told to have a bath and wash our uniforms when we got home from work.
“The bath was run when Scott came upstairs and pushed me backwards with quite a lot of force. The bath was pretty full. He pushed my head and shoulders underwater. His hand was on the back of my neck. I couldn’t get out of the water. It was probably only seconds but it felt longer.
“When he let go I couldn’t see, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t hear. I swallowed water, my clothing was soaked.”
Richards, of Treherbert, Rhondda, chose not to give evidence in his defence at the four-day trial. He had denied counts of assault and assault by beating – the later an amended charge with the defendant having initially denied one count of actual bodily harm.
He was found guilty of assaulting Ms Rich in the bathroom by a majority verdict of 11-1. He was unanimously found guilty of the headbutt assault. The jury spent five hours deliberating on their verdicts.
Recorder Caroline Rees warned him that all sentencing options were open when he is sentenced next month. Richards was freed on bail while a pre-sentence report is carried out.
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Source: Wales Online