Women struck in terror attack

PUBLISHED: 14:29 02 March 2006 | UPDATED: 13:17 04 May 2010

BUILDER Maurice Murfitt subjected three women to an alcohol-fuelled beating while children were sleeping upstairs. Murfitt punched the two sisters and his girlfriend in a prolonged and unprovoked attack after drinking at a village pub, a court heard. When

BUILDER Maurice Murfitt subjected three women to an alcohol-fuelled beating while children were sleeping upstairs.

Murfitt punched the two sisters and his girlfriend in a prolonged and unprovoked attack after drinking at a village pub, a court heard.

When one of his victims, Tanja Cowling, tried to call the police he warned her that if she didn't put down the phone he would kill her.

Prosecuting Sally Rose told Ely Magistrates on Tuesday that Murfitt, 39, of Park Lane, Little Downham met Ms Cowling and her sister, Sandra Seal, in the pub next to their village home while he was drinking with his girlfriend, Tracey Lawrence.

Miss Lawrence felt Murfitt had had too much to drink and left him in the pub while she went to the sisters' home.

A short while later Murfitt came to the house with his bull terrier dog and banged on the door smashing the glass.

Ms Cowling went to the door and Murfitt punched her in the face knocking her backwards.

She told him there were children sleeping upstairs and he said: "I don't give a f**k about your children."

Miss Seal went to Ms Cowling's aid pushing her into the lounge. But she was punched in the face and head as she tried to push Murfitt outside.

Murfitt left the house but returned a few minutes later and punched his girlfriend, ordering her to go home with him.

When Miss Seal stepped in to stop him hurting Miss Lawrence, she was punched about 10 times on the bridge of her nose and on her head.

As Miss Lawrence tried to persuade him to go home he unsuccessfully ordered his dog to bite.

Miss Seal, who was treated at hospital for her injuries, told police in an interview: "The incident left me completely shocked. I cannot believe that he did this to three women. I was concerned he might come back again.

"Everyone has a right to feel safe in their homes. This attack was totally unprovoked. He had no regard for children being in the house."

Miss Lawrence told police in an interview: "His behaviour left me shocked and extremely upset. I am shocked that he found it necessary to hit me and two other women. I don't want anything more to do with him and want him out of my life."

At a previous hearing Murfitt had admitted three charges of assault and one of criminal damage on January 29.

Mitigating, John Aspinall told the court that he had no memory of the incident but accepted the account of events because he felt that Miss Lawrence always told the truth.

"His actions are completely indefensible," said Mr Aspinall. "He is disgusted and ashamed by his actions and the injury and distress caused to the victims.

"It is safe to say that is very uncharacteristic for him to behave in such a manner. There is no doubt this incident was caused by the fact that Mr Murfitt had too much to drink and he fully accepts he has to do something to control his drinking. He has never, for one minute, denied what happened that night."

Chairman of the Magistrates, Harvey Harrison, told Murfitt: "This is quite horrendous. You have no recollection of the events on that evening and I am sure you are not proud of what happened.

"These three women were your vulnerable victims in what was a prolonged and unprovoked attack fuelled by alcohol with children present in the house."

Murfitt was given a six-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to complete 100 hours community work and attend an alcohol abuse and anger management course.

He was ordered to pay £250 compensation to each of his victims, £100 compensation for the criminal damage and £75 costs.

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