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Addict 'would kick, punch and knife victims'.

victim Cherie Bendig, found dead at the home she shared with Paul Dewhirst

death scene The house in Smith House Avenue, Brighouse

Boyfriend jailed for attacks on partners

THE boyfriend of a 28-year-old mother-of-one found dead at their Brighouse home has been jailed for violent attacks on her and two previous partners.

Bradford Crown Court heard that 34-year-old amphetamine addict Paul Dewhirst displayed feelings of paranoia and sexual jealousy during his relationships with the late Cherie Bendig, teenager Emily Evans and his former wife Gail Mitchell.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC told Dewhirst he had inflicted domestic violence on his partners in a "widespread, regular and repeated fashion".

As he jailed him for a total of five years, he said he imagined that the Parole Board would think long and hard before considering him for release.

Dewhirst pleaded guilty last month to assaulting Miss Bendig, 28, in July last year and then wounding her in a knife attack just two months before she was found dead at their Smith House Avenue home in January.

Prosecutor Nikki Peers told the court that during the attack last November Dewhirst used a steak knife to stab Miss Bendig with such force in the left foot that it went straight through her trainer.

During that attack she also suffered a stab wound to her right elbow and was admitted to hospital for treatment.

In July last year Dewhirst attacked Miss Bendig while they out in the street, knocking her to ground and kicking her in the back, neck and head.

"The incident culminated in him dragging her into a garden and hitting her about the head," added Miss Peers.

Although he was spoken to by a police officer he was never arrested or charged at the time.

The court heard that Dewhirst had also been violent during his marriage to Gail Mitchell and while he was having a later relationship with Miss Evans, who was just 16.

Miss Peers said Dewhirst began abusing amphetamine during his marriage and alleged that his wife was subjected to weekly abuse.

Miss Peers said Dewhirst's paranoia about other men led to bizarre allegations that his wife was letting them in through the loft and led to him nail the loft door shut.

That relationship ended in about November 2000 after his wife took an overdose and made a complaint to hospital staff about his threats and abuse.

Dewhirst then began a relationship with Miss Evans and the court was told there were a number of instances of violence against her.

"He punched and kicked her repeatedly over a four-hour period," said Miss Peers. "Such was the severity of the attack that she was left with extreme facial swelling."

Miss Peers told the court that Dewhirst had also produced a gun during incidents with Miss Evans and Miss Bendig.

Such a weapon was later recovered from his home in Smith House Avenue.

Dewhirst's barrister Mark Fletton said his client's guilty pleas had spared his victims the ordeal of reliving their experiences in court.

He said his client had been abusing amphetamine for about 14 years and his behaviour had been seriously affected by it.

He wished to say how sorry he was to the individual complainants for his behaviour, added Mr Fletton.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Oct 10, 2006
Words:543
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