A British mom is urging women in the country to take advantage of Clare's Law and look into their partner's background for a history of abuse after she was on the receiving end of a vicious beating by her husband. Mother of three, Suzanne Hill met lot lorry driver David Jennison on the website Plenty of Fish in 2015 and after hitting it off immediately married him.
Jennison moved into Hill's home after and was described by her as being 'kind and attentive.' But Jennison would soon reveal a much darker side to himself and the marriage turned sour. Hiding a history of violence and domestic abuse, Jennison snapped in June last year after Hill insisted she wanted to watch Britain's Got Talent.
He headbutted her, choked her, and knocked her out with a flurry of punches before tying her up and leaving her in a sleeping bag for her son to find. She was found in a blood-soaked hallway and she then spent the next five days recovering in the hospital, with the extent of her injuries so grievous that she wasn't even able to open her eyes.
Speaking to Manchester Evening News after the court hearing which classed the 52-year-old Jennison as a 'dangerous offender' and gave him an extended jail sentence, she recalled the horrifying day. She said: "I was sat having my tea, it was a warm night and the windows were open. Everything seemed fine. He was an HGV driver so he had been up since 4 am that day."
"I was watching Britain's Got Talent and he came in and said 'I'm not watching that s***.' I said 'what's the problem?' “He took the dog out for a walk and I thought that was the end of it. He was obviously in a mood and at 9 pm he went upstairs and he muttered something I didn’t hear. I thought I might as well go to bed too. In bed, I was giggling a bit because we had our backs turned to each other. I said something and he just turned around and put his fist to me."
Incensed, she said she packed a bag for her husband and threw it downstairs, but that only served to aggravate him further. She continued the narration of the incident: "He slowly pulled the bed cover back and I thought he was going to hug me, but he gave me the biggest headbutt. Then as fast as he did that, he started strangling me. And strangled. And strangled."
The chilling story continued: "He finally stopped and his face had just gone. He never spoke, there was no shouting or arguing. He just said 'I'm going to kill you and I'm to kill me.' She said she then tried to run downstairs and out of the house, but Jennison pulled her back just as she reached the handle, "As I turned to look at him, I felt the biggest blow. He split my lip and beat me and carried on beating me unconscious."
"Next thing I heard a voice saying 'mum.' It was my son - I had been unconscious half an hour."
Her son had arrived had the house because Jennison had told him that she had popped some pills and grabbed a knife and that he had to tie her up for her safety. In court, it was told that he thought his mom to be dead, but heard her whisper 'please don't hit me again,' and immediately had her taken to the hospital. Authorities were alerted about Jennison and he was apprehended two days later.
Hill's case should serve as a warning to not jump in so quickly with a random stranger one meets on the internet, with her admitting that he had been 'brilliant' to her before the shocking outburst. She said: "How I survived that, I have no idea. I get flashbacks and I see a therapist because of post-traumatic stress disorder. He had been brilliant with me before that. He didn't give me any reason to doubt him. But that night, he was a complete bully."
She says her experience has urged her to encourage others to take advantage of Clare's Law and look into their partner's past. Also known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, the law was brought into practice to protect potential victims of domestic abuse and was named after 36-year-old Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, George Appleton, in 2009.
Hill believes that these anonymous dating websites, as well as those who use it, have a responsibility to carry out background checks on its members. Speaking about her own experience, she said: "I met him on Plenty of Fish and that was it. We got on really well and it felt right and nice. He treated me like a queen. He did all the cooking, he was great and looked after me."
"He had the odd moment but he had never laid a finger on me and I would never have stayed with him if he had. The only time I got that feeling in my tummy was with these moods. But I had lived on my own for 24 years so I didn't know if I was being over the top," she continued.
Speaking at the sentencing, prosecutor Brian Berlyne told the court that Jennison had 13 previous convictions that dated back to 1990. The convictions ranged from offenses such as causing bodily harm, common assault, witness intimidation, and battery.
The last of which related to a domestic violence incident n 2013 when he grabbed his partner's throat and threw a knife at her. He was then convicted of harassing that same woman the next year after it emerged that he had sent abusive messages to her and threatened to kill her. He had also served a four-year sentence for causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
It was reported that Jennison sent a letter to the judge of this latest case, Timothy Smith, in which he said he was 'mortified' and 'truly sorry' for his actions but it was dismissed. The judge said he had shown 'little degree of insight' into his latest infraction and that he had tried to downplay his responsibility in a pre-sentence report.
In a victim impact statement read to the court by the prosecutor, Hill said: "I will never get over the shock of what my husband did to me that night. My daughter had a feeling about him and she didn’t know she could go to the police as a third party."
It continued: "I work as a carer caring for people all day and it was a nice bit of telly that was easy to watch. But he’s a controlling person and he wanted me to give him the attention. That set him off in a mood. They need stronger sentences for domestic abuse. The person I thought would protect me was the person I needed protecting from."
Jennison's latest sentence will see him serve three years and three months in prison and an extended license period of three years after means that even after release, he will be at risk of being recalled to prison until 2024.