Eight years’ jail for bat attack on pregnant woman

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

A man who attacked a woman until he saw a “lifeless unmoving body on the ground” was sentenced to prison for eight years three months.

Ashburton man Christopher James Buick, 32, hit a 23-week pregnant woman so hard in the head with a baseball bat that it snapped in half, and then kicked her in the head and stomach.

He was sentenced on a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in the Christchurch District Court, after he had pleaded guilty.

The woman suffered a fractured skull, severe facial bruising, cuts, and a broken eye socket in the attack.

Buick became enraged when the woman said she wanted to keep their baby, and the blows to the woman’s head and stomach with the bat and Buick’s boot only stopped when she lay on the ground and pretended to be dead.

Crown prosecutor Pip Norman read the woman’s victim impact report to the court, which said she had known Buick for over 10 years and closely for the last two.

She said she would never forget the attack where she was ferociously and repeatedly hit by the baseball bat and kicked with booted feet.

She believed he intended to kill her, and left her with scars from a skull fracture, whiplash, and concussion which will continue to affect her brain for some time.

Her report said she will always remember the attack, his silent rage, and his lack of caring. She had recurring nightmares and flashbacks, and lived in terror that he would return.

Ms Norman said Buick’s pre-sentence report said he was self-centred, and referred to the effect on his own life rather than the victim and her baby.

Defence counsel Craig Ruane said Buick had written a letter to the victim, and to the court.

Buick was a first offender with a previous good record and was well respected, he said.

This behaviour was entirely out of character, and Buick could not explain why he thought going to her address with a weapon was going to solve the problem.

Buick seriously attempted suicide after the attack and was found by his father. He was deeply remorseful, and overwhelmed by what he had done, Mr Ruane said.

Judge Stephen O’Driscoll said Buick had already received the first strike warning for repeat violent offenders.

He said Buick drove from Ashburton to Christchurch and arrived at the woman’s house at 1.30am. When she opened the front door he held the baseball bat above his head and struck her in the head with it. He kept striking her in the head and stomach until the bat snapped in half, and then kicked her in the head and body until she lay there pretending to be dead, and left without checking her.

He said the victim was a courageous person, who tried to protect both herself and her unborn child.

The woman was vulnerable, pregnant, by herself, and in her own home where she should have expected to have some security.

He said Buick’s pre-sentence report said he was adopted and was concerned the relationship may have been disclosed to his parents.

The report said Buick blamed the victim who he said attempted to manipulate him, and he was more concerned about his position than hers.

It said that his risk of family violence reoffending was high, and he lacked insight into his offending and empathy for the woman and her baby.

Judge O’Driscoll said it was extreme, serious, brutal and callous offending, and Buick knew what he was going to do with the bat. He continued to attack the woman until he saw a lifeless unmoving body on the ground, and then he left.

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