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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Woman tells court how ex-husband punched new partner

A woman has recalled the “thud” sound as her ex-husband’s fist connected with her new partner’s face.

Related: Cumbrian man accused of running over ex-wife and breaking her leg

Andrea Sharp was giving evidence against Kenneth Sharples at Carlisle Crown Court.

Sharples, 53, is accused of unlawful wounding by assaulting Kai Diesveld, and of causing serious injury by dangerous driving following an incident in the Milburn Croft/Jackson Street area of Seaton on December 15.

Miss Sharp was left with a broken leg after her ex-husband allegedly knocked her down and drove over her, while her partner Mr Diesveld suffered cuts and bruising to his face.

The case against Sharples, of Chaucer Road, Workington, had originally begun on Monday afternoon, but one of the jurors revealed reasons why she was unable to act as an impartial juror.

Judge Paul Batty QC yesterday discharged the remaining 11 jurors, and reballotted them – with two additions – to make a new panel of 12. Prosecuting counsel David Birrell opened the case for a second time.

Miss Sharp, the first witness to be called, was visibly shaking as she took to the stand.

She recalled the events of that Saturday, telling the court about a pleasant afternoon which deteriorated following an argument with her daughter. The girl subsequently telephoned her father, Sharples, to pick her up. She and her mother managed to have a calmer conversation in the “10 minutes or so” before her dad arrived.

“There were three quite loud bangs on the door,” Miss Sharp told the court. “They were quite startling really. [My daughter] answered the door and saw it was her dad. He seemed very angry, very irate.”

She claimed that Sharples, who works for Allerdale Council, was “pointing his finger” into her face and shouting.

“He grabbed hold of the top I had on,” Miss Sharp continued.

The jury heard that Mr Diesveld ordered Sharples to release her and leave the property.

Miss Sharp said: “I saw [Sharples] fist swing behind me and heard the thud as it hit [Mr Diesveld] over my shoulder.”

A scuffle ensued as Miss Sharp and Mr Diesveld struggled to remove Sharples from their property, the court was told, and they grappled with him onto the street.

Miss Sharp says her attention was momentarily diverted as she noticed her daughter standing watching and when she turned back to the two men she realised Sharples was hitting her partner.

“He was raining punches onto him,” Miss Sharp said. “Mr Diesveld was actually on the floor, and Mr Sharples was above him, raining punches into him.”

Eventually the defendant got up and came face-to-face with his soon-to-be ex-wife, who claimed she could “smell alcohol”. Miss Smith recalled: “I said to him ‘you’re not going anywhere with [our daughter], you’ve been drinking’.”

As Sharples got in his car and began trying to drive away, she admitted deliberately placing herself in front of the vehicle to prevent him from driving.

Somehow she got knocked to the ground, where she describes being run over.

Under cross-examination by the defence, Miss Sharp accepted that she later learned Sharples had not been drunk.

She strongly denied that it was Mr Diesveld and herself who had been the aggressors, and insisted there had been multiple punches – and not the single blow “with an open palm” that Sharples insists.

Miss Sharp also denied being angry, insisting she was simply “very scared” that Sharples was driving off with her daughter when she believed he was drunk.

Sharples has denied both charges. The trial continues.

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