A WOMAN who hit her boyfriend over the head with a bottle of Ouzo during 24 hours of torture has had her prison sentence increased from eight to 12 years.

The Court of Appeal heard how it was a “miracle” that Gemma Hollings, from Darwen, had not killed Paul Kirkpatrick in the “relentless” attack on him.


A judge decided that the original sentence was “unduly lenient” and increased it by four years.

Speaking after the hearing, a solicitor specialising in domestic violence cases said she hoped the increase would said a message out to victims that abuse was now being taken seriously.

Hollings, 37, who has a history of substance abuse, was convicted of wounding and assault having attacked Mr Kirkpatrick following rows over infidelity, money and drugs.

The court heard she had grabbed hold of his testicles, causing intense pain, struck him with a curtain pole on his head, arms back and legs and become aggressive picking up a wooden handled ball hammer hitting him repeatedly on his arms, back and head, ripping his clothes.

She also hit him twice over the head with an empty bottle of Ouzo, which, when it smashed, she used to stab him in the neck with the jagged bottleneck, causing him to bleed profusely.

Instead of showing remorse, or calling for help, Hollings told him to clean himself up and that he had deserved what he got, the court was told.

Although admitting the attacks, she said she was acting in self-defence.

The stab wound she inflicted to her boyfriend’s neck came within millimetres of severing one of the major blood vessels, the court heard.

His extensive injuries included bruises and cuts across the body including the genital area, four head wounds requiring staples, two forehead cuts, a 7cm cut to the neck which exposed the jugular vein and needed stitches and staples, a fractured cheekbone and fractured eye socket. He also needed a metal plate inserted in his cheekbone. After the Court of Appeal hearing, Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC MP said Mr Kirkpatrick had been “lucky to escape with his life”.

He said: “I brought this case to the Court of Appeal as unduly lenient as the attacks with hammer and broken bottle carried the risk of causing permanent disability or death.

“Hollings’ assault with the bottle was especially premeditated, just hours after the hammer attack. The use of a sharp and pointed weapon to target the throat indicated a higher level crime.

“The victim suffered multiple serious injuries and significant psychological harm. Hollings has previous convictions for assault and this episode amounted to a horrendous and potentially fatal case of domestic abuse.

“I am pleased the court recognised this by increasing the sentence to 12 years.”

Rachel Horman, a solicitor specialising in domestic violence, at East Lancashire based Watson Ramsbottom, said: “The increase sends out a good message to victims, both male and female, that domestic violence is being taken seriously.

“For too long, the sentences have not reflected the severity of the offences.”

“This increase is great news and Hopefully it will set a precedent for future cases.”

Mark Brooks, chairman of the ManKind Initiative, which supports male victims of domestic abuse, said he had been made aware that Mr Kirkpatrick had requested for the sentence to be looked at again.

He said: “It gives a clear message that domestic abuse is wrong, no matter who carries out the crime, and that male victims must be viewed and treated equally to female victims.”