Police have released the 999 call from a witness to a businessman’s brutal attack on his ex-wife.
Alec Butt took a hammer and screwdriver to the head and arms of the mother of his children because he wanted to “punish” her for leaving him.
The 71-year-old, then of Rylestone Grove in Westbury-on-Trym, had tried to conceal himself behind a hoodie and mask. He hid behind bins, crept up on Anna Butt and repeatedly struck her outside her workplace in Whiteladies Road, Clifton.
Alec Butt was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on Monday (May 10) to seven years and nine months in prison, after being found guilty of grievous bodily harm over the attack, which took place shortly after 5pm on December 28, 2019.
In the 999 call from the attack, the witness shouts in panic: “I’m watching him hit her. Oh my God, he’s hitting her. He’s dragging the woman. It’s her ex-husband. He’s going mad. He’s ripping her face to shreds. He’s smashing her in the face. He’s really hurting her.”
He hit her multiple times, with both a hammer and screwdriver, and he banged her head against the wall and floor. In the darkness of the winter evening, Butt placed his hand over her mouth to stop her screaming.
Butt fled after the witness called police. He was arrested about 90 minutes later sat in his car, in a car park near Cribbs Causeway.
He had decided to “punish” Anna as he “brooded in an unfurnished home, fuelled by anger and resentment” over his former wife’s new relationship, the court heard. You can read the full details of the case here.
Anna was taken to hospital with injuries to her head and arms. She has made a full recovery from the physical wounds, but the attack has had a serious psychological impact.
Following the sentencing, she said: “I would like to thank the help and support of the police, in particular PC Nina Foster, DC Katrina Collier, and PC Katie Douglass throughout the investigation and the trial. Their unwavering support has been key in seeing me through this case.
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“Additionally I would like to thank the help and everlasting support of my friends and family whose faith and support in me and my children has been so appreciated – those who stayed true to me when I was in huge emotional turmoil was a tower of strength.
“I would encourage anyone suffering domestic abuse to reach out to the police for help. They will support you and you are not alone.”
PC Nina Foster, the officer in the case, said: “It’s hard to put into words how courageous Anna and her whole family have been to get us to this position.
“To say today’s sentencing marks the end of this chapter for them would be to downplay the seriousness of what has happened. But we hope it does bring some comfort to them that this dangerous man is safely behind bars.
“The photographs of the injuries Anna sustained will shock and appal people. But the mental and emotional scars that domestic abuse causes are often hidden and yet can be both more painful and longer lasting.
“Alec Butt is a violent abuser. His terrifying actions are inexcusable and have rightly seen him sent to prison.
“We hope today’s result and the bravery shown by Anna encourages other victims to contact police or to seek support from a trusted friend or relative. You will be believed and we can help make you safe.”
Domestic abuse can be reported on 101, or 999 if it’s an emergency. If you call and don’t feel it’s safe to speak, dial 55 and the operator will transfer your call automatically to the police.
If you are a victim, or know someone you suspect is, visit www.thisisnotanexcuse.org for advice and access to support services.