Rochester: Abuse Victim Speaks Out

A 23-year-old woman, whose face was left unrecognisable following an attack by her boyfriend in Rochester has spoken out to encourage more victims of domestic abuse to come forward.

Litisha Henry suffered a severely swollen face, chipped teeth and cuts, bruises and scratches all over her body after being punched repeatedly following a night out. Clumps of her hair were also pulled out.

Her attacker, 44-year-old Franklin White was sentenced to six years in prison on Friday for the attack. 

Now Litisha has recorded a video with police to talk about her ordeal. She said: "I’m doing this to show people that they can get what they deserve."

"Go to the police; they will help you and they can help you through it. You are not alone."

The unprovoked attack started in East Row at around 2.20am on 17 March 2013. The couple had argued following a night out together, before White launched a ferocious attack on his victim, punching her and dragging her by her hair. 

Litisha recalled how she begged White to stop. "He just laughed," she said. "At one point I thought he was going to kill me as he just wouldn’t stop."

Witnesses who tried to intervene were threatened with violence before White forced his victim into a black BMW and attempted to drive back to his home address. 

Kent Police officers spotted the vehicle being driven erratically and following a pursuit arrested White in Coulman Street, Gillingham. 

Detective Constable Jason Lynch said: "It was clear when our officers looked into the vehicle that Litisha was seriously injured and terrified and it was necessary to use force to remove White from the vehicle. 

"Litisha’s injuries were the result of a sustained and brutal assault, but her injuries could have been a lot worse had we not been alerted so quickly by members of the public."

Fearing reprisals, if she gave evidence, Litisha was initially too scared to tell Kent police officers what had happened. She was encouraged to make statements and give testimony in court after specialist support from Kent police officers who are trained to deal with domestic abuse victims.

DC Lynch added: "This was a cowardly attack which left the victim with very serious injuries and in fear for her life. Thankfully Litisha has been brave enough to testify in court to ensure that White’s actions did not go unpunished. 

"Domestic violence doesn’t just take place behind closed doors and we would urge anyone suffering domestic abuse to contact us. We take every call seriously and officers will provide support to victims while they investigate reports of domestic abuse."

White, 44, and formerly of Livingstone Circus, Gillingham was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. At a previous court appearance he had denied the offence but was convicted by a jury.

White was also sentenced to one month for failing to provide a breath specimen and to three months for a previous assault, which he had been serving a suspended sentence for. All sentences will run concurrently.   

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