Nurse thought she was drowning when boyfriend held her head under bath water

By Philip Dewey

A nurse thought she was going to drown after her martial artist boyfriend pushed her head underwater in the bath.

Scott Richards, 32, assaulted his former partner of 11 years Kathryn Rich on April 4 last year after she had just finished a 12-hour night shift at Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant.

He grabbed hold of her and forcibly dragged her to the bathroom where a bath had been run and submerged her head underwater and held it there with a "firm grip".

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The incident, which lasted a few seconds, left mental health nurse Ms Rich "coughing and spluttering" but during the ordeal she believed she was going to die.

Businessman Richards, of Treherbert, denied two counts of common assault but was found guilty following a trial at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.

In a victim personal statement read out to a sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court on Friday Ms Rich said: "Since the incident took place I have been emotionally effected. When Scott tried to drown me I didn't know if I was going to come back up again.

"We had been together for 11 years and I genuinely loved him but I can't believe it's come to this. I have been working in a hospital environment under the pressure of Covid-19 which has had an impact on me."

Scott Richards will be sentenced next month (Dimitris Legakis/Athena Pictures)

The court also heard there was an earlier assault on March 24 – the day after the national lockdown started.

Prosecutor Rosamund Rutter said Richards dragged his partner out of bed by her pyjama top, headbutted her to the bridge of her nose, and pushed her up against a doorframe causing injury to her arm and shoulder.

The trial heard the defendant had discovered a "personal note" in Ms Rich's handbag which made him suspect she had been unfaithful with a work colleague but she denied having an affair.

In mitigation Ieuan Rees conceded his client's offences were "seriously disturbed" but argued his client's sentence could be served within the community.

Sentencing, Recorder Caroline Rees QC said: "It must have been absolutely terrifying for [Ms Rich] and she told the court she thought she was going to die...

"Your behaviour has a serious impact and you should feel thoroughly ashamed... You have shamed those involved in your sport by showing uncontrolled violence and jealous outbursts."

Richards was sentenced to 30 weeks imprisonment suspended for 18 months and was ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was also made subject to a restraining order for two years.

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