*** WARNING: This story contains image and audio that some people may find upsetting ***
A man has been jailed for a brutal unprovoked attack on his ex-wife, which left her fearing for her life.
Alec Butt was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court today (Monday 10 May) after being found guilty of assault causing grievous bodily harm.
The 71-year-old hid behind bins near Anna Butt’s place of work in Whiteladies Road on Saturday 28 December 2019 before seriously assaulting her. While covering his face to hide his identity, he pushed her up against a wall and used a hammer and a screwdriver to inflict significant injuries to her head, arms and hands.
A passer-by called the police at which point Butt fled the scene. He was arrested about 90 minutes later near Cribbs Causeway.
Anna was taken to hospital but thankfully her physical injuries have healed over time.
In a personal statement read out in court today, Anna said she feared the man she was married to for 18 years would kill her.
She said: “I was absolutely terrified. Throughout the attack, despite my constant attempts to fight back and disarm my attacker, I was thinking that I was going to die in that car park.
“I distinctly remember during the incident that I kept seeing my children’s faces before my eyes and also my parents’.
“When I realised that it was Alec, when I pulled his hood down, it confirmed what I already knew; I had been married to Alec for 18 years and I had real fears that he would do something like this.”
However, while physical scars have healed, Anna bravely outlined the emotional toll the incident has had on her and her family.
She said: “There are days where my anxiety is so high that I can’t face leaving the house.”
Butt, of Painswick, continued to deny being responsible for the attack despite the overwhelming evidence collected by police. He was found guilty by jurors in March following a trial.
Judge James Patrick jailed Butt for seven years and nine months, dismissing Butt’s claim he acted in self-defence.
He added that the jury had seen through Butt’s lies and the remorse shown since conviction rang ‘hollow’ as a result.
“I would encourage anyone suffering domestic abuse to reach out to the police for help. They will support you and you are not alone.”Anna Butt
Support for victims of domestic abuse
Following the sentencing, Anna said: “I would like to thank the help and support of the police, in particular PC Nina Foster, DC Katrina Collier, and PC Katie Douglass throughout the investigation and the trial. Their unwavering support has been key in seeing me through this case.
“Additionally I would like to thank the help and everlasting support of my friends and family whose faith and support in me and my children has been so appreciated – those who stayed true to me when I was in huge emotional turmoil was a tower of strength.
“I would encourage anyone suffering domestic abuse to reach out to the police for help. They will support you and you are not alone.”
PC Nina Foster, the officer in the case, said: “It’s hard to put into words how courageous Anna and her whole family have been to get us to this position.
“To say today’s sentencing marks the end of this chapter for them would be to downplay the seriousness of what has happened. But we hope it does bring some comfort to them that this dangerous man is safely behind bars.
“The photographs of the injuries Anna sustained will shock and appal people. But the mental and emotional scars that domestic abuse causes are often hidden and yet can be both more painful and longer lasting.
“Alec Butt is a violent abuser. His terrifying actions are inexcusable and have rightly seen him sent to prison.
“We hope today’s result and the bravery shown by Anna encourages other victims to contact police or to seek support from a trusted friend or relative. You will be believed and we can help make you safe.”
Domestic abuse can be reported on 101, or 999 if it’s an emergency. If you call and don’t feel it’s safe to speak, dial 55 and the operator will transfer your call automatically to the police.
If you are a victim, or know someone you suspect is, visit www.thisisnotanexcuse.org for advice and access to support services.