Vincent Edgell sentenced after pleading guilty to assaulting his former partner
A Guildford man who pleaded guilty to assaulting his former partner on two occasions in 2014 was jailed for four years (with a further year on licence) last Friday (7 April).
Vincent Edgell, 44, pleaded guilty to two offences of causing grievous bodily harm to his former partner, Joanne Berenson, when he appeared at Guildford Crown Court on February 9.
Edgell, of Slyfield Court, had a previous conviction for assaulting his ex-girlfriend.
The attacks on March 1 and October 8 2014 on Ms Berenson left her with a broken hip and an injured hand. On the most recent occasion, Edgell threw her across the room during an argument, causing her to fall on the hard floor. Edgell had already broken one of his ex-partner’s hips on a previous occasion.
PC Matt Tate, who investigated the offence, said:
“Edgell is a dangerous, violent man who had assaulted his ex-girlfriend on numerous occasions and left her with some life changing physical injuries. His behaviour also caused her extreme mental torment. The lengthy sentence imposed today reflects the seriousness of his offending and has ensured that he will now be behind bars for a considerable length of time.
“I must commend Ms Berenson’s bravery in speaking out and ensuring that Edgell was brought to justice. After suffering domestic abuse on many occasions, she decided enough was enough and has had the courage to face her abusive ex-boyfriend in court with our support.
“I am grateful that she placed her trust in Surrey Police enabling the team to investigate the allegations and I hope the sentence will to some extent help her to move forward with her life and that she will feel that justice has been served.”
PC Tate continued:
“Surrey Police will always take allegations of this nature very seriously and are committed to fully investigating such offences, whenever they occurred. We recognise that it takes tremendous courage to reach out for help when you are in an abusive and controlling relationship, and I would like to reassure any victim that you will be treated with compassion and sensitivity.”
“You may also wish to contact other organisations for help and support – locally visit the Surrey Against Domestic Abuse website or call their 24 hour your Sanctuary helpline on 01483 776822. Alternatively, you can call the freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, which is run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge, on 0808 2000 247.”
Speaking after the conviction, Ms Berenson said:
“After suffering years of abuse, I finally decided enough was enough and decided to speak out to ensure that Vincent did not do this to anyone else. I am finally moving on with my life and would like to thank Surrey Police, and in particular PC Matt Tate for their support throughout this ordeal. I felt reassured and supported throughout. I would also urge anyone who finds themselves in a similar abusive and controlling relationship to take a stand.”
Giving evidence by television link, Ms Berenson told the court that the defendant had a kind side which could change dramatically when he was angry.
"He is huge and frightening and he causes damage," she said.
"I don't want him to hurt anyone else."
Ms Berenson said on the first occasion they were in Woking and she was walking too slowly for him, so the defendant grabbed her by the hand to hurry her up and scrunched her hand causing it to break.
However, she told court the worst incident had been in October while the two of them had been arguing.
"He threw me across the room and I fell on the hard floor. I could feel my hip break," she said.
She said that Edgell had already broken one of her hips on a previous occasion.
She said she screamed out in agony:
"You've done it again. You've done it again."
Edgell said from the witness box that he had caused Ms Berenson injury out of "recklessness" but said he "didn't mean for this to happen."
He said on the first occasion he had been trying to help her along and on the second occasion he had shoved her away with his hand after she had confronted him.
Ms Berenson has now broken free from an abusive situation and finally feels safe. She stated that she “wants other potential victims of domestic abuse to take that ‘leap of faith’ even if suffering with addictions, and trust Surrey Police. Irrespective of your situation at home you will not be judged and your complaint will be treated seriously”.
For advice about domestic abuse that is independent of the Police, visit http://www.surreyagainstda.info/ or call the 24 hour yourSanctuary Surrey helpline on 01483 776822. In an emergency always call 999.