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Woman fleeing abusive marriage battered by pal who put her up in row over unpaid rent

A runaway housewife fleeing an abusive marriage suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone after a family friend who put her up, battered her senseless during a row over unpaid rent.

Michelle Prestwich, 52, was knocked to the floor and beaten by Alvin Williams when he stopped her in the street and demanded she pay him for the six month period she stayed at his flat.

During the assault, Williams, 38, searched Mrs Prestwich’s pockets before repeatedly punching her to the side of the face.

He fled when staff at a nearby shop were alerted and told him to stop.

The victim, who also suffered a suspected fractured eye socket in the attack on November 18 last year, was later rehoused outside the area.

In a statement Mrs Prestwich told police: “I was scared to death and terrified when I was attacked. He is a big bloke, and I thought he would kill me.

“Still to this day I am having nightmares about this.

Michelle Prestwich suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone in the attack
Michelle Prestwich suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone in the attack

“I was a victim of domestic violence in the past, and what he has done has brought back so much fear into my life. I have been placed in an area where I do not know anybody and I feel like I have got to start all over again.

“He has taken away all my independence,” she added.

At Manchester Crown Court, Williams, from Northenden near Wythenshawe, admitted causing grievous bodily harm and was jailed for 15 months.

He was also banned from contacting Mrs Prestwich for two years under the terms of a restraining order.

The court heard Mrs Prestwich had known Williams through her ex-husband and moved in with him when her marriage broke down.

Prosecutor Daniel Lister said Mrs Prestwich had become homeless and began staying at friends’ homes.

Alvin Williams
Williams had allow his victim to stay at his home after fleeing her abusive marriage

She then stayed at Williams’ flat for six months, paying him £20 per fortnight, he said.

But not long before the offence happened, Mrs Prestwich moved out and began living with another friend in the same block of flats, the court heard.

However, Williams claimed Mrs Prestwich owed him more money for the time she lived with him, Mr Lister said.

She was walking with her friend when the defendant appeared on a bicycle, he continued.

“He screeched to a halt and threw the bike to one side then punched her to the side of her face.

“She fell back to the floor and he punched her twice more.

Michelle Prestwich suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone in the attack
Mrs Prestwich said she still has nightmares about the incident

“The complainant’s friend went to a local shop to get help. Someone from the shop shouted at him to leave the complainant alone, which he did.”

The prosecutor said Williams went inside the shop and his victim returned to her friend’s home and an ambulance was called before she was taken to hospital.

Despite her injuries Mrs Prestwich did not return to the hospital for follow up appointments so the extent of the suspected facial fractures could not be properly documented.

Williams had 44 previous offences on his record including violence and battery.

His lawyer Rachel Cooper said he had since “found” his Christian faith and wanted a “clean slate”.

She added: “The problem with Mrs Prestwich was her associations. It was not that she was causing problems for him, but because of the people she knew, problems were happening at the address.

“He was worried that it would threaten his tenancy and brought the bad blood between them.”

Ms Cooper went to say her client is “fully remorseful of his actions” and he “genuinely wants to move on”.

Judge Mr Recorder Michael Maher said the offence was a “nasty act” in what appears to have been a “chance encounter” amid the ongoing dispute.

“She previously has been the victim of domestic violence, and you knew that because you provided her accommodation to escape that,” he continued.

“You said you have turned your back on her and re-engaged with your faith. I do hope that is right, Mr Williams,” the judge added.

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