Byline: By DAMIEN FLETCHER and JULIE McCAFFREY
THESE battered women yesterday furiously slammed plans to keep the men who attacked them out of prison.
The Sentencing Guidelines Council says the brutes could instead go on courses which "challenge their attitudes towards women".
But the idea from the Council, set up by Prime Minister Tony Blair to advise judges on sentences, has caused widespread outrage.
Claire Overton, 23, repeatedly slashed across the face by her husband, said: "It's tantamount to saying domestic abuse isn't really that important. It's a bullies' charter."
Amanda Hainsworth, 45, headbutted and punched by her boyfriend, said: "These punishments leave me disgusted and give abused women little hope of justice."
Bridget L'Anson, 35, whose cheating lover broke her nose, said: "His sentence was a joke. I feel so let down by the justice system as it stands already."
Marie Black nearly died at the hands of her attacker. She said: "Lighter sentences are an insult to women everywhere."
Rapists' jail sentences could also be cut by up to 15 per cent because jail is said to be tougher. Home Secretary Charles Clarke hopes the proposals will encourage more women to report rape and violence.
Two wives are killed by their current or ex-partners every week in England and Wales. And police get a call a minute from abuse victims.
One in four women will fall victim to domestic violence at some time in their lives.
Teresa Parker, of Women's Aid, said of the SGC's ideas: "They are utterly ludicrous - and very upsetting. We've had calls from women who are absolutely devastated at the news.
"Some were in tears, desperately trying to find out whether the men who beat them would be let out of prison to be sent on a course. Many women have contacted us asking if there was anything they could do to stop that happening."
Sandra Horley, of Refuge, said: "Refuge is horrified that after 35 years of campaigning for the government and criminal justice system to take rape and domestic violence seriously that such proposals have been put forward.
"The idea that sending domestic violence perpetrators on courses an alternative to custody is ludicrous and by doing so lives of women will be put at risk. It trivialises domestic violence."
FORMER model Catherine Fleming, 48, was so savagely attacked that she needed surgery.
The widowed mother-of-two was beaten and left unconscious by Angus Cullen and woke up in hospital with a policeman standing over her bed.
Cullen, of Drumchapel, Glasgow, was jailed for three months but was let out after six weeks.
Catherine, from Clydebank in the city, said of her ordeal: "It was blow after blow after blow.
"I feel let down. He's in the wrong but still walked back into his old life. He's not paid for what he did.
"These men should be condemned and exposed. They mustn't get away with this any more."
EX-BOYFRIEND Craig Sylvester, 37, systematically beat and humiliated Sharon Clegg.
He was released from prison after serving just eight months of a 16-month sentence for the terrifying and violent attacks.
Sharon, 38, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, was left traumatised by her experience.
She said: "He was drunk the first time he hit me.
"I can't remember what we'd rowed about but it left me with two black eyes.
"He cried afterwards and begged for forgiveness. He made me feel that I couldn't live without him by telling me no one else would want me if we finished.
"To this day, I can't explain why I didn't leave him."
CLAIRE Overton had been married for two years when husband David slashed her face seven times.
As blood pumped on to her duvet, she feared her throat was cut and she would die.
He had told her: "When you look in the mirror I want you to remember me."
He was jailed for six years. Claire, 23, of Whitby, North Yorks, said: "The proposals to change sentencing of violent men is appalling news.
"If anything the sentences should be increased. It's sending out the wrong signals. It's time we as a society took this evil crime more seriously not devalued it's impact.
"I'm serving a life sentence after what happened to me."
AFTER suffering numerous beatings at the hands of her boyfriend for 27 years, Susan Wallis, 42, finally contacted police when he stabbed her in a frenzied attack.
Kevin Woodhouse was sentenced to five years for the attack at Preston Crown Court in August, 2001.
She says: "As soon as I heard the sentence I thought, 'You're joking?'. My daughters were distraught.
"I just felt that after the police had done such a good job, and the jury came back with the right verdict, the judge let me down with too lenient a sentence. I was expecting eight to 10 years. But I still urge people to go to the police - no woman should put up with an abusive partner."
PERSISTENTLY battered and harassed by her husband John, Gillian Wilson, 40, took the brave step of pressing charges against him - but was appalled to see her husband jailed for just a fortnight.
His jail term was increased to three months after she appealed against the leniency of the sentence, which was ruled "wholly inappropriate" by the appeal judge. He was later found hanged.
Gillian, from Sunderland, says: "John's death was sad but I don't regret any of my actions.
"I had to stand up for myself - and my advice to any other woman who finds herself in the same situation is, 'Don't hang about. Get out of it'."
AFTER her boyfriend punched and head-butted her, Amanda Hainsworth's face was left so bloody and swollen she could barely open her left eye.
James Chapman, 32, admitted he had beaten her in a jealous rage, then smashed up her house and car.
He was given a two-year suspended sentence and fined pounds 5,700.
Amanda, 45, from Yeovil in Somerset, says: "Following the attack I was a mess. I felt so degraded and lost my confidence.
"These punishments leave me disgusted and give abused women little hope of justice."
TERRIFIED Natasha Reilly, 19, was regularly attacked by her brutal one-time boyfriend Ben White.
She became depressed and felt so helpless she twice driven attempted suicide.
After his final attack, four years ago, brutal White left her nursing a number of injuries, including a black eye, bruises and a cut face.
White was given an Asbo banning him from the town centre at Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, for five years.
She says: "He had beaten me up countless times and I had been a fool and forgiven him because I am so frightened of him."
LOVE cheat Raymond Parry walked away with a four month suspended jail sentence after battering Bridget L'Anson.
Bridget, 35, of Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, said: "His sentence was a joke.
"If he'd have shoplifted he'd probably have got a harsher sentence."
Parry broke her nose and gave her two blacks eyes.
Bridget recalled her terrifying ordeal in November 2004.
"When I found out Raymond had been cheating on me I dumped his property in boxes outside my home," she said.
"He drove up in his truck, got out a chainsaw and waved it at me, then punched me in the face. I thought I was going to die that day."
AFTER six years of violence at the hands of her husband William, Debra Pemberton was left partially paralysed in a final horrific, drunken attack.
Pemberton was handed a two year community rehabilitation order and made to attend one-ton-one sessions on domestic violence.
Debra, 41, of Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, is haunted by her ordeal in October 2002.
She said: "He came in and declared he'd had 18 double whiskeys. He kicked me between my legs and said, 'I want you to die.' Then I was dragged by both sides of my hair and he bashed my head against the door, smashing me around the room. I tried to call 999 but he smashed the phone across my head."
LYN Merritt, 26, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, suffered two-and-a-half years of abuse at the hands of teenage boyfriend Jamie Pewter.
At Norwich crown court in December 2003, he was given six years in a young offender institution for grievous bodily harm with intent.
The auxiliary nurse lost consciousness during the last attack, when her eye sockets were damaged and her nose fractured in two places.
Lyn says: "He put my head through a wall, jumped up and down on my chest and kicked me in the face about 20 times until I was unconscious.
"The thought of abusers like Jamie not going to prison makes me sick.
"Men who do this need long sentences and intense therapy."
WHEN 21-year-old Jade Denton, from Preston, Lancs, tried to leave her boyfriend, he repeatedly slashed her across the face with a razor blade.
Andrew Livesey, 25, left his pregnant girlfriend scarred for life.
He was sentenced to five years imprisonment for wounding with intent and common assault at Preston Crown Court in September, 2005 for wounding with intent and common assault.
Jade says: "Andrew was a control freak and treated me like a doormat.
"I was packing my bags to leave him after a row when he grabbed me and cut me up, despite the fact I was six weeks' pregnant.
"I was satisfied with the five-year sentence but I think people like him should be forced to go on courses to confront what they've done and stop them re-offending."
HER husband dragged her by the hair and smashed her head against a brick wall, fracturing her skull.
Julie Black, 48, from Dumfries, spent a week in hospital.
Her husband was found guilty of the attack and sentenced to 200 hours community service.
Julie says: "I really did think I was going to die that night.
"Even now I'm really disappointed by the sentence. Photographs of my injuries weren't enough to send him to prison because it was his first offence.
"The courts seem to believe abusers can beat you up as long as it's only once. What kind of protection is that?"
HER fiance was a policeman, so Veronica Smith should have felt safe.
Instead PC Nigel Orton punched and bit her when their six-month relationship ended in a furious row.
Orton, 44, admitted actual bodily harm in June, 2001 but walked free from court with a 12-month conditional discharge.
Veronica, 43, from Water Orton, Warks, says: "He hit me twice in the face, leaving me with a black eye and bleeding nose. He kept spitting and swearing at me.
"Then he pinned me down on the sofa put his face on my stomach and bit into it. I was in sheer agony and didn't know when he'd stop."
HER injuries resembled those of a car-crash victim.
Marie Black, 23, almost died at the hands of her attacker, ex-boyfriend John Moorcroft, who repeatedly jumped on her head in front of her three terrified children.
Last year Moorcroft was jailed for five years - and will be released after serving just half his sentence.
Marie, from Liverpool, says: "Lighter sentences are an insult to women everywhere, and are no better than handing violent men a free rein to brutalise women.
"Ask any woman who has been raped, attacked or beaten and they will all say that sentences should be increased, not decreased. Women will be too scared to come forward."
Voice of the Mirror: Page 6
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