April 2017

Man threw child against wall during ‘catalogue of abuse’

A man subjected his former partner and her three children to “hundreds” of beatings as part of a “dreadful catalogue of abuse”.

James Skelly attacked the three children – aged between seven and nine – of a woman he had started seeing over the period of 21 months.

In one attack he threw one of the children against a wall so hard it was damaged.

He told one of his victims in another attack: “I wish you were dead.”

One of his victims later told police Skelly had battered the children “hundreds” of times.

The 32-year-old, from Hawick Drive in Dundee, was jailed at the city’s sheriff court on Wednesday for four years.

Skelly was only caught after attacking the children’s mother, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the youngsters, prompting her to beg her own mother for help to get away from him.

When he was eventually arrested Skelly claimed to officers his relationship with the woman was “fantastic” and denied the allegations of abuse.

Fiscal depute Kirsten Thomson told Dundee Sheriff Court all three children had told police and social workers of the catalogue of abuse they suffered.

She said: “The oldest child recalled an occasion when he was grabbed and thrown against a wall, damaging it. He also remembered occasions when he was kicked in the stomach while in the garden.

“The middle child disclosed an occasion when he was kicked and told ‘piss off you f****r, I wish you were dead’.

“He said the accused was always shouting and swearing at him had punched him on the body for no reason.”

Ms Thomson added: “The youngest child recalled being kicked in the body because the toilet was broken and kicked because of an issue in the garden.

“He said these incidents had happened hundreds of times. He recalled one incident when all three had been misbehaving and the accused had picked them up by the neck and pinned them against a wall.

“The accused would often refer to one of the children as ‘gay’ and called them names like ‘little b******s’.”

Skelly also admitted attacking another ex-partner, choking her until she began to feel light headed.

That attack prompted her to flee her flat in the middle of the night to seek refuge at Dundee Women’s Aid.

He pled guilty on indictment to five charges of assault and one of behaving in a threatening and abusive manner committed at addresses in Dundee and Burntisland, Fife, between December 2009 and December 2014.

Defence solicitor David Holmes urged the court to limit the sentence handed down to Skelly.

Sheriff Alastair Brown imposed a four-year jail term, with a further one year under supervision in the community upon his release.

He said: “This is a dreadful catalogue of abuse against vulnerable people, women and children.

“In the circumstances it appears to be almost impossible to avoid a significant custodial sentence.”

March 2017

“Vile brute” subjected woman and her three children to hundreds of beatings

A woman who was the victim of a “vile brute” who subjected her and her three children to hundreds of beatings has said that he made her life hell.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, described James Skelly as “disgusting” and said he should never again be allowed near women and children.

The 32-year-old, of Hawick Drive in the Ballumbie area of Dundee, pleaded guilty to five charges of assault and one of behaving in a threatening and abusive manner at addresses in Dundee and Burntisland, Fife, between December 2009 and December 2014.

Fiscal depute Kirsten Thomson said all three children had told police and social workers of the catalogue of abuse they had suffered

She said: “All three children told police they were repeatedly physically abused by the accused.

“The oldest child recalled an occasion when he was grabbed and thrown against a wall, damaging it. He also remembered occasions when he was kicked in the stomach.”

At Dundee Sheriff Court Skelly also admitted attacking another ex — choking her until she began to feel light headed and prompting her to run from her flat in the middle of the night to seek refuge at Dundee Women’s Aid.

The mother-of-three told the Tele how she only got help after locking herself in the bathroom and texting a desperate cry for help to her mum.

And she said that her life became a “nightmare” because she lived in constant fear of beatings from him.

Skelly brutally attacked the woman and three children over a period of 21 months.

In one attack, he threw one of the children against a wall so hard that the wall was damaged.

And in another, a child recalled being kicked in the body because the toilet was broken and kicked because of an issue in the garden.

Fiscal depute Kirsten Thomson told Dundee Sheriff Court that the incidents had happened hundreds of times.

Skelly was only caught after attacking the children’s mum — prompting her to beg her mother for help to get away from him.

The woman said: “I want people to know what kind of person he is.

“Skelly should never be allowed to be near women and children for the rest of his life.

“He made my life hell, a complete nightmare and I lived in constant fear.

“I was subjected to daily physical and mental abuse by him but didn’t know how to get away.

“He watched over me constantly — and it was almost impossible for me to get help.

“I bitterly regret knowing him and know now that he took complete advantage of me.

“I now feel I can finally breathe a sigh of relief knowing that he is very likely going to be jailed for what he did to me and to the children.

“I hope he is put away for a very long time.

“That way he will not be able to harm me or any more women and children ever again.

“He is a vile, disgusting person and I was very, very scared all the time because of him. I’m glad to hear that he is likely to face a significant jail sentence.”

His victim said she was finally able to get help by locking herself in the bathroom and sending a desperate text message to her mum to get help.

She said: “He watched over me the whole time so I couldn’t get help but eventually I was able to send a message to my mum and she took it to a police station.

“She showed them my cries for help and police visited my home and that way Skelly was caught.”

Deferring sentence until next month for social background reports, Sheriff Alastair Brown told Skelly: “This is a dreadful catalogue of abuse against vulnerable people, women and children.

“In the circumstances it appears to be almost impossible to avoid a significant custodial sentence.”

The sheriff remanded Skelly in custody.

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