4th Jul, 2022

Woman who slashed partner with kitchen knife avoids prison sentence

A YOUNG Coventry woman who lashed out with a knife at her partner after getting back with him despite being subject to a non-molestation order has been freed from prison.

Hayley Bratby (22) of no fixed address, but previously of London Road, Whitley, Coventry, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to wounding and breaching the non-molestation order.

But after hearing she had already spent several months in custody on remand, a judge gave her a 21-month sentence suspended for two years and ordered her to do 120 hours of unpaid work.

Prosecutor Nigel Stelling said Bratby and Daniel Browning had been in a relationship, but separated in 2016, and in February last year he obtained a non-molestation order against her.

After that, things between them ‘quietened down to some extent, and in May there was something of a reconciliation.’

“Sadly that peace did not prevail, and arguments developed over the fact that Mr Browning had met and had some sort of relationship with another woman during their separation.

“Arguments began, and over a period of time became worse and worse, leading up to the incident he describes in June when there was again an argument about that.”

Mr Bratby said he tried to remain calm and not to argue back as Bratby began to slam doors and throw things around the house.

She then went into the kitchen and, telling him she was going to do so, took a large-bladed kitchen knife from a drawer.

Mr Browning, who had their two-year-old child in his arms, took out his phone to try to record what was happening, although he did not capture the actual attack.

He put an arm out to try to keep Bratby at a distance, but she lashed out at him a number of times with the knife, striking him three times.

“He felt he needed medical attention, but was prevented from calling the emergency services by Miss Bratby who took his phone from him and cancelled the call,” said Mr Stelling.

Following that incident, Bratby sent Mr Browning a number of messages in which she made threats and taunted him that she was going to sleep with friends of his.

She also contacted his mother, again making threats, and his employers, making things difficult for him at work.

Mr Stelling added that Bratby had previous convictions, including one in April last year for breaching the non-molestation order within two months of it being imposed.

Deputy Judge Richard Griffith-Jones asked Bratby’s barrister Richard Davenport whether he wanted an adjournment for a psychiatric report to be prepared on her.

But Mr Davenport said he had spent some time with her in the cells, and she had come across as being ‘quite rational.’

He explained: “She puts her problems down to her mental health problem and also the fact that she was taking speed at the time.”

Sentencing Bratby, and making a restraining order banning her from having any contact with Mr Browning, the judge told her: “I want you to understand that the sentence I’m going to pass upon you fixes a relationship between you and the court.

“It is not to be breached because of some perceived irritation you have with your former partner.

“If you break the order I’m going to make, you will be brought back and you will have to serve a prison sentence. It will not be good enough to say he’s done something that irritated me.

“The most serious offence you committed was to go and get a knife, saying that was what you were going to do, and using it against your victim.

“It is a matter of fortune what injury you cause when you lose your temper and hack at someone three times with a knife. You should consider how lucky you are that you are not now facing a life sentence.

“This offence was made even more serious by the fact that he had in his arms an innocent two-year-old who himself could have been injured because of your loss of temper.”

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