Leeds man jailed for horrific, drunken New Years Day assault on partner

A Leeds man who subjected his girlfriend to a half-hour long assault has been put behind bars.

By Richard Beecham
Friday, 1st July 2022, 4:45 am

Benjamin Rumfitt, 40, of Hoyle Court Avenue, strangled, punched and pressed his thumbs into the eye sockets of his then-girlfriend in Armley, during the early hours of New Years Day this year.

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A sentencing hearing at Leeds Crown Court heard how the victim described the incident as a "nightmare".

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Rumfitt received two years and 10 months imprisonment.

The court heard the two had gone for a meal together the previous day and had been drinking during the evening.

The two were sat on the sofa when Rumfitt began talking about the relationship, during which he said "I wish death on you" to the victim.

The victim laughed and told him to "shut up", before Rumfitt got close to her, making her feel uncomfortable.

He then grabbed the victim and began to strangle her for around four seconds, before pinning her to the ground and punching her in the face 10 times.

After the attack, the victim told the Rumfitt to call her an ambulance. Rumfitt instead went into the kitchen to find a bag of frozen vegetables.

He then told the victim he was going to "take an overdose" and that she would have to watch him do it.

When Rumfitt went upstairs, the victim ran into the garden and screamed out for help. Rumfitt heard her and ran outside, at which point she had climbed onto a neighbour's outhouse, afraid Rumfitt would kill her.

Rumfitt then rang his mother and told her he was going to kill himself and the victim. He then grabbed hold of the victim and pressed his thumbs into the corners of her eyes.

During the assault, the victim managed to send a Whatsapp message to the defendant's mother, who then called 999.

Officers arrived at the house to find the victim in the back garden, before arresting Rumfitt.

The court heard Rumfitt suffered a serious brain injury in 2010, which had made him prone to bouts of emotional instability. It was added Rumfitt had previously been receiving anger management courses, which he had found helpful, but they had been discontinued due to a lack of funding.

A statement written by the victim was read out to the court.

It said the couple had hopes going into the new year, which "turned into a nightmare".

Mitigating, Tyler Hoffman told the court: "He does have great remorse for his actions. He has asked his mum to apologise to the complainant on his behalf.

"Barring this incident, he is a well-liked individual."

Mr Hoffman added Rumfitt had a serious brain injury in 2010, adding: "He accepts it was an extremely bad decision to drink as much alcohol as he did when he was in such a low mood."

He said Rumfitt also attempted to get help in November 2021, but "it was too difficult".

Rumfitt had pleaded guilty to wounding with intent.

Sentencing Rumfitt, Judge Simon Batiste said: "This was a very unpleasant incident in drink.

"It's difficult to understand why you lost it in the way you did - this was a sustained assault."

Judge Batiste sentenced Rumfitt to two years and 10 months in jail.