Horror ordeal of Notts woman strangled by ex

Mansfield Magistrates Court
Mansfield Magistrates Court

A woman who was strangled, headbutted and beaten in her own home by an ex-boyfriend she tried to help, now lives in fear for her life, a court has heard.

Phillip Froggatt, 31, of Recreation Street, Mansfield, admitted assaulting Lesleigh Butler on January 13 and appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court on Wednesday for sentencing.

The court heard that Froggatt, an alcoholic who fell down some stairs after a blackout, had been invited to recover from his injuries from time to time at Miss Butler’s home.

Donna Fawcett, prosecuting, said on January 13 Miss Butler found him unconscious on the floor.

When she couldn’t get him to wake up she called an ambulance, but Froggatt was abusive to the first responder and the ambulance crew and refused to go to hospital, so the medics left.

Ms Fawcett read from a statement made by Miss Butler: “I asked him to leave. He was shouting, swearing and staggering.

“I tried to lock the front door after him but he grabbed my hair. He wrapped the hair around his fist and dragged me from the hall to the kitchen.

“He started to punch me in the head. He was shouting and hurling abuse, calling me disgusting.

“He was going on about the beers he had brought with him. He started looking for them - everywhere but where they were.”

When Froggatt went into the bedroom, Miss Butler dialled 999, but was unable to complete the call before he returned. She hid her phone behind the coffee machine and hoped the police would hear what was happening.

“I was petrified of what he would do,” she said. “He grabbed me by the hair and forced my face into the dog bowl.”

Miss Butler knocked the bowl over and Froggatt dragged her across the kitchen and then banged her head on the floor two or three times.

“He then got really in my face. He headbutted me right on the left side of my head. He then strangled me. I can’t remember if it was with one or two hands. It only lasted a short time but it felt like a life time. I started to feel dizzy.”

At that point the dog began yelping, distracting Froggatt, and Miss Butler was able to punch him in the crotch.

She grabbed her phone and ran out of the house.

While the police were still on the phone, she hid behind a hedge and was spotted by a pizza delivery man. She tried to get him to go away in case he alerted Froggatt. The people in the house where the pizza was being delivered asked her to come inside.

The court heard Froggatt had previous convictions for domestic violence with a different partner and had been cautioned in 2007 and 2014.

During police interview Froggatt answered ‘no comment.’

In the statement, Miss Butler said: “When he put my face in the dog bowl and was strangling me I honestly thought he was going to kill me.

“I completely trusted my ex-partner. For him to hurt me as he did left me completely broken. I honestly thought I wouldn’t get out of my house alive.

“Every time I go into the kitchen I re-live it. I am afraid to go out after dark as I am scared that I will see Phillip and he will attack me.

“I am a prisoner in my own home. I keep the lights off so it looks like I am not in. I won’t even answer the door in case it is Phillip.

“What scares me is that Phillip is out on bail and free to come and go.”

She said she can’t eat properly since the attack and says she is ‘lucky if I force myself to eat once a day.’

The court heard that Miss Butler has lost three stones in weight and has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. She is now taking medication for depression and painkillers.

Huge clumps of hair were torn from her head and she now has bald patches. As well as extensive bruising she still experiences pain in her back which brings her to tears.

Tom Oates, mitigating, said: “This is a most serious offence. The only issue is whether the sentence is passed immediately or whether it is suspended.

“His early guilty plea is the only mitigation I can give.”

Mr Oates argued that prison would be a ‘short-term fix’ and that Froggatt had problems which needed to be addressed.

Sentencing Froggatt to four months in prison, chairman Mike Lyall said: “I have been on the bench a lot of years and that is the worst case I have heard.

“Your victim was someone who allowed you to go in her home because you were in need. You betrayed her. You beat her.”

Froggatt was also ordered to pay £400 compensation to the victim and banned from contacting her, or entering the road she lives on, until further orders are made.

Miss Butler appeared in court for the sentencing and, as Froggatt was led down, she cried out: “I hope you rot in hell.”

Speaking to the Chad after sentencing, Miss Butler said: “I want everybody to know about him. At least they will be aware of what he has done.”

Miss Butler, 28, said she now carries three personal alarms, and has had locks fitted on her letter box by the fire brigade in case of an arson attack.

She said: “I feel like a prisoner in my own home. I don’t know what he’s capable of.

“I have to got move away from the area for my own safety. I am never going to feel safe in Mansfield again. Not around him.

“I have no idea of where I am going to move to.”

She said she had not been sleeping or eating properly since the attack, and suffered flashbacks.

“All I can see when I close my eyes are his eyes. They were bulging out of his head. It was frightening, something you can’t forget.

“I called him Flip because one minute he’s nice and the next he just changes.

“He has not had a hard life. He has had a really good upbringing. His family are really lovely. You couldn’t ask for better people.”