1491968982530 - Ashburton man beat pregnant woman with baseball bat until she pretended to be dead

Ashburton man beat pregnant woman with baseball bat until she pretended to be dead

A man who attacked a woman pregnant with his child until he saw a “lifeless unmoving body on the ground” has been jailed for eight years.

Ashburton man Christopher James Buick hit a woman who was five months pregnant with his child so hard in the head with a baseball bat that it snapped. He then kicked her in the head and stomach.

The 32-year-old was sentenced on a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in the Christchurch District Court on Wednesday. He had earlier pleaded guilty.

The woman suffered a fractured skull, severe facial bruising, cuts and a broken eye socket in the attack.

Judge Stephen O’Driscoll said Buick, who became enraged when the woman told him she wanted to keep their baby, drove from Ashburton to Christchurch on February 4, arriving at the woman’s house at 1.30am.

When she opened the front door he held the baseball bat above his head and struck her in the head with it. He kept striking her in the head and stomach until the bat snapped in half. He then kicked her with his booted foot in the head and body until she lay there pretending to be dead. He left without checking her.

Crown prosecutor Pip Norman read the woman’s victim-impact statement to the court, which said she had known Buick for more than 10 years and closely for the last two.

She said she would never forget the attack, his silent rage and his lack of caring. She had recurring nightmares and flashbacks and lived in terror that he would return

She believed Buick intended to kill her and has been left with scars from a skull fracture and whiplash. The concussion she suffered will continue to affect her brain for some time.

Norman said Buick’s pre-sentence report detailed a self-centred man who referred to the affect the attack had on his life, rather than the victim’s and her baby’s.

Defence counsel Craig Ruane said Buick had written a letter to the victim and to the court.

Buick was a first offender with a previous good record and was well respected, he said.

This behaviour was entirely out of character and Buick could not explain why he thought addressing her with a weapon would solve the problem.

Buick attempted suicide after the attack, but was found by his father. He was deeply remorseful and overwhelmed by what he had done, Ruane said.

Judge O’Driscoll said Buick had already received a first-strike warning. 

The woman was vulnerable, pregnant, alone and in her own home where she should have expected to have some security, he said. She was also courageous, as she tried to protect herself and her unborn child.

Buick’s pre-sentence report stated Buick blamed the victim, who he said attempted to manipulate him, and was more concerned about his position than hers.

It said his risk of domestic-violence reoffending was high and he lacked insight into his offending and empathy for the woman and their baby.

Judge O’Driscoll said it was extreme, serious, brutal and callous offending and Buick knew what he was going to do with the bat. He continued to attack the woman until he saw “a lifeless, unmoving body on the ground” and then left.

Buick was imprisoned for eight years and three months.