Lowestoft: Self-defence claim by man accused of beating woman

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk man accused of beating a woman “black and blue” and telling her he was going to kill her has claimed he was acting in self-defence.

Gareth Griffiths told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court he approached the woman to talk to her but she told him to go away and threatened him with a knife.

He said he was scared to turn and walk away in case she stabbed him in the back and had tried to disarm her.

“She lunged at me. She was coming forward at me with the knife in front of her,” Griffiths said.

He told the court he grabbed the woman’s wrists and forced her to the ground before telling her to let go of the knife.

“She didn’t let go. She kept struggling and I hit her on the side of the face three times. She let go of the knife when I punched her the third time,” he said.

He said he did not know how the woman had got cuts on her hands and arms but assumed they had happened during the struggle with the knife.

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Griffiths, 43, who was living in Lowestoft at the time of the alleged incident in May, has denied unlawfully wounding the woman, raping her and sexually assaulting her.

It has been claimed the woman needed surgery on cuts to her hands after fighting off Griffiths when he allegedly beat her.

The woman claimed Griffiths had a look of “hate and evil” on his face during the alleged incident and said she feared he was going to kill her.

She described how Griffiths had allegedly grabbed her by the hair and held a knife to her throat and said she suffered serious injuries to her arms and hands as she tried to push the knife away. She claimed Griffiths told her “very calmly” he was going to kill her and as well as holding the knife to her throat he had kicked and punched her leaving her “black and blue”.

The woman claimed Griffiths had locked her in the house where the alleged attack took place and she was forced to climb out of a window.

The court heard the woman was taken to hospital and was found to have multiple bruises and swelling on her face, a cut to the bridge of her nose, a cut on her lip, a puncture wound on her earlobe and cuts to her arms and hands.

She had surgery to repair tendons in her hand and was told she would be left with permanent scarring.

Griffiths told police that after the incident with the knife he and the woman had consensual sex. He denied raping her or locking her in the house where the alleged offences took place.

The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdicts on Monday.