Man jailed after pouring bleach on girlfriend’s head in ‘sustained’ and ‘disgusting’ assault

Benjamin Lewis
Benjamin Lewis
  • 20-year-old launched attack on his girlfriend ‘out of the blue’ after accusing her of cheating
  • Pinned girlfriend to the bed, punched and slapped her face and threatened to burn her alive after she locked herself in bathroom
  • He then poured bleach over her head which left her with stinging eyes and blurred vision
  • Court hears Lewis had eight previous convictions for seven offences, including an assault on his own mother and brother
  • He admitted his behaviour was ‘disgusting’ and said it was influenced by alcohol

A man who poured bleach over his girlfriend’s head in Kings Langley after accusing her of cheating on him has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Benjamin Lewis, 20, who hails from Portishead, Bristol, launched an attack on Abigail Hawthorne ‘out of the blue’ after they had been out drinking.

You won’t get out alive. You will burn to death. I will kill you. I will kill your family.

Benjamin Lewis’ threat to Abigail Hawthorne

When they returned to their home in Common Wood, Kings Langley, he pinned her on the bed and punched and slapped her face, St Albans Crown Court heard.

She locked herself in the bathroom, but he put a lighter under the door, which was four inches from the ground, and said: “You won’t get out alive. You will burn to death. I will kill you. I will kill your family,” said prosecutor Edward Lewis.

Using her mobile, she dialled 999 and tried to leave, but Lewis then poured the bleach over her head. The phone operator could hear her shout: “Please stop. It is in my eye.”

Lewis himself took over the phone and said: “I have poured bleach all over her.”

Abigail managed to run to a nearby pub and raised the alarm. She suffered stinging and blurred vision as well as scratches and bruising to the arms and thigh.

He was in court three days after the attack last September for breaching a Community Order and received a six week sentence. When he was released on October 16, Lewis contacted Abigail on Facebook. She was staying in St Ives in Cornwall with her sister Carrie-Anne, who has two young children. Lewis told her: “Your sister owes me £1,500. You have two f...... days or I will burn her house down.”

Lewis pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm on September 23 last year. He also admitted making threats to kill her and making threats to kill her sister. He had eight previous convictions for seven offences, including an assault on his mother in 2009 and another assault on his mother and brother in January 2011 when he ran down the stairs with a large kitchen knife.

Katie Jenkins, defending, said that much of what happened was hazy in Lewis’ mind as he was under the influence of alcohol. “He says his behaviour was disgusting. He has had four months in custody to consider what happened that night. That has been a shock to his system.”

She said he was still only 20 years old and had work lined up in the kitchen of the Brewers Fayre in Portishead.

Judge Marie Catterson sentenced him to 12 months for the actual bodily harm with two years consecutive for making threats to kill. She said: “It was a sustained assault on Abigail. You used bleach – a particularly nasty weapon.”

The judge also made a restraining order banning him from contacting Abigail or Carrie-Anne by any means and banned him from entering Cornwall for an indefinite period.