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Woman who was kicked in her stomach on Valentine’s tells the court how she lost her unborn baby

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A woman who lost her baby after she was kicked in the stomach outside a Dartmouth pub on Valentine’s Day last year broke down as she told police of her ordeal, Plymouth Crown Court heard on Tuesday. 

Roger Bygrave, 37, is on trial for the attack in which he smashed his foot into the woman’s lower abdomen, an act which he denies doing deliberately and instead claims was in self-defence. 

Plymouth Crown Court heard that she was taken to hospital where hours later her daughter was delivered stillborn at 28 weeks via an emergency caesarean.

The jury on Tuesday was shown a recording of the interview she gave police just days after the attack, in which she discussed the horrendous incident through tears and said: ‘I know that they said that my daughter’s time of birth was at the same time as her time of death.’

The 34-year-old woman told the jury on Tuesday that she had tried not to think about the incident on Valentine’s Day last year, and described the moment Bygrave’s foot connected with her pregnant belly as ‘excruciating’.

Roger Bygrave, 37, is on trial for the attack in which he smashed his foot into the woman's lower abdomen, an act which he denies doing deliberately and instead claims was in self-defence

Roger Bygrave, 37, is on trial for the attack in which he smashed his foot into the woman’s lower abdomen, an act which he denies doing deliberately and instead claims was in self-defence

The 34-year-old said: ‘I have put it to the back of my head and have just tried to get through each day as it comes.’ 

Ann Temperton, who was working in the bar that night, said that Bygrave kicked the heavily-pregnant woman as if ‘he was kicking in a door.’ 

Bygrave, of Townstal Road, Dartmouth, has pleaded not guilty to child destruction in the incident outside Market House Inn and denied wilfully kicking the pregnant woman to her lower abdomen with intent to destroy the life of a child capable of being born alive.  

He also pleaded not guilty to assaulting her causing grievous bodily harm with intent on the evening of Valentine’s Day last year, arguing that he lashed out in self-defence because he thought he was being attacked.   

Bygrave, of Townstal Road, Dartmouth, has pleaded not guilty to child destruction in the incident outside Market House Inn and also to assault causing grievous bodily harm with intent

Bygrave, of Townstal Road, Dartmouth, has pleaded not guilty to child destruction in the incident outside Market House Inn and also to assault causing grievous bodily harm with intent

The court heard that a commotion began around 10.45pm on February 14 2020 after the woman went to calm down a situation involving Bygrave and several other people who appeared to be arguing outside the pub.

Bygrave had reportedly broken pub rules by taking a glass into the street and was being asked to switch his drink to a plastic glass by barmaid Ann Temperton when the commotion took place.

The complainant, who has other children, told police in interview that she had gone to the Market House Inn with her sister, and revealed that she knew Bygrave prior to the incident from around town. 

The woman, who had prior experience of bar work, said: ‘I know that Roger is not an angry nor a violent person, but he was very sort of argumentative with people. 

‘I don’t know what the conversations [outside the pub] were about. He just didn’t seem his normal self.’

The witness said that there was a group of people outside the pub with ‘arms flying everywhere’, and added she didn’t know why the argument had happened but assumed it was something to do with the row over the glass. 

The complainant said: ‘I don’t really know what happened. I just walked outside to try and calm the situation down. 

‘It is a natural thing for me to do, it is a thing I am very good at it.’

The woman then recounted her recollection of the attack: ‘It all just exploded so quickly. I just shouted to everyone to calm down. I just kind of saw Roger’s foot and then felt a sharp pain and went backwards. 

‘I kind of gripped my tummy and lowered myself down. The pain was just excruciating. I have never felt pain like it, it hurt so much.’ 

The officer asked her in interview: ‘Did Roger know that it was you in front of him?’

The woman said: ‘I think so. He looked straight at me.’ 

The incident took place on the evening of Valentine's Day in 2020 when the woman said she went outside to calm down a situation involving Bygrave and several other people

The incident took place on the evening of Valentine’s Day in 2020 when the woman said she went outside to calm down a situation involving Bygrave and several other people

She admitted on the witness stand that she recalled slapping Bygrave in the face prior to being kicked amid the commotion – an act which kept coming back to her in flashbacks of the incident at night.

The defendant says he acted in self-defence, kicking out blindly because he feared he was under attack. 

He told police in his interview that he did not know if a man or a woman was standing there – and would not have thrown the kick if he had known it was a pregnant woman. 

Ms Temperton said that she had followed Bygrave into the street to demand he put his cider in a plastic cup, which he did after ‘two or three minutes of muttering and grumbling’.

She added that she went back inside to replace the glass, but that by the time she went back outside several people were stood in the road ‘shouting and arguing’, including the pregnant woman and her sister.

Ms Temperton said: ‘The next thing I know was him raising his foot and kicking her in the stomach. To be honest, everything which happened after that was a bit blurry. It all seemed to happen at once.

‘I hit him across the face and he grabbed me by the hair and dragged me to the floor.’

The trial is ongoing, and is expected to continue into next week. 



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