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21 January 2011, 10:35
A Baldock man who 'mercilessly' attacked his partner with a machete, causing multiple wounds, has been jailed for seven and a half years.
Judge Richard Foster told 37 year old Kieren Batten that he was lucky the victim had not died during the attack.
He said: "This was a vicious and merciless attack with a machete on a helpless woman and it is only by good fortune that you are not facing a murder charge. It is a grave offence and only a long custodial sentence is appropriate."
Batten, formerly of Norton Road, Baldock had stood trial at Luton Crown Court last November, where he denied a charge of attempted murder. He was found not guilty by the jury.
But he had pleaded guilty to wounding Tanya Middleworth with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He told the jury he was so drunk at the time that he could not remember the assault.
The jury heard that the couple had been together for about five years but she had moved out shortly before the assault.
On Dec 13 2009 she went to the house with her stepfather and her two children and Batten was there drinking with a friend and listening to music.
When she turned the stereo down, Batten head butted her, then fetched a machete from a cupboard and began smashing up the kitchen, before turning on her. She was on the floor curled up and trying to protect herself.
Her stepfather had got the children out of the house and saw Miss Middleworth on the garden path covered in blood.
She received cuts and lacerations to her scalp, her hand, her forearm, elbow, knee and shoulder. She remained in hospital for five days.
Justin Rouse, defending said: "Appalling as this incident was, it was a spontaneous eruption of temper. He has decided he is never going to drink alcohol again. He has been in custody on remand for more than a year and is described as a model prisoner."
Judge Foster told Batten: "You were unable to cope with the end of your relationship but the root cause of your behaviour is drink. I think you have learned your lesson."