January 2019

‘Sadistic’ father deliberately burnt daughter’s arms with a scalding iron

A cruel father deliberately burnt his daughter’s arms by pressing a scalding iron to her skin when she tried to stop him hurting her mother.

Richard Balatay, who was previously responsible for disciplining people in the military, lost his temper when he thought wife Rachel and daughter Chelsea were not showing him enough respect.

Sentencing him at Newport Crown Court, Judge Daniel Williams told him: “Your conduct was sadistic in its cruelty.”

Andrew Kendall, prosecuting, said the incident happened on June 30 last year at the family’s home at Coed-y-Gores in Llanedeyrn, Cardiff.

The family members were preparing to go to church when Balatay had an argument with his wife about ironing his shirt.

In his sentencing remarks, Judge Williams noted: “That is all it took for you to become aggressive and begin shouting at your wife.”

The court heard Mrs Balatay “cowered” in fear as her husband held the iron towards her face and her daughter ran over to protect her.

Judge Williams described mother and daughter as terrified as Mrs Balatay was “recoiling” from her husband.

During the trial, Miss Balatay told the court: “I did this as I did not want my father to hurt my mother. I would prefer him to hurt me.”

The judge told the defendant: “You pulled the iron from the socket. It was, as you well knew, extremely hot.”

Balatay deliberately held the burning iron on to his daughter’s left forearm. When she did not do as he wanted, he did it again to her right arm, holding it against her skin for longer.

Judge Williams said: “The pain to Chelsea took time to register. She left the room followed by her mother, who was horrified to see what you had done.”

When Mrs Balatay asked how he could do such a thing, her husband replied: “I can do what I want.” 

The court heard Miss Balatay’s injuries became “agonising” and she decided to call the police, despite fearing they would not take her complaint seriously.

She said she was determined not to leave her mother with her father when she went to university.

Judge Williams noted those events did not take place in isolation, as Balatay hit his daughter with a belt, broom handle, hammer and his bare hands over many years when she was a child.

The court heard he had also threatened to injure his wife by pouring hot water over her and to set fire to the family home with petrol.

During the trial, the judge noted both women were “shaking” as they gave evidence, adding: “They are terrified of you.”

Balatay, 50, denied cruelty to his daughter as a child and causing her grievous bodily harm with intent.

He also denied controlling behaviour towards his wife and assaulting her.

The jury rejected his evidence and he was found guilty of the charges following a trial.

Judge Williams said: “With odious self-righteousness, you sought to portray yourself as a holy man whose virtues were wrongly portrayed by those close to you as vices.”

The court heard he was fined in 2006 for drink driving – his only previous conviction.

Balatay told a probation officer he and his wife have been married for 20 years and they came to the UK in 2003. He became a British national four years later.

The defendant was raised in the Philippines by his uncle, who was described as having an authoritarian attitude to discipline.

Balatay went into the military and was responsible for disciplining others.

The probation officer suggested there may be some “cultural issues” as the defendant regarded himself as head of the household, who was responsible for disciplining his family.

He felt responsible for instilling “good morals” and started to feel his wife and daughter were defying his authority.

He now accepts he has “anger issues”.

The court heard he was surprised when his daughter went to the police and he has no other family in the UK.

Hilary Roberts, defending, said: “He realises his attitudes are outmoded and out of place in this country.”

Judge Williams described the defendant’s behaviour as “cowardly” and noted the pattern of violence went on for years.

Balatay was given a 12-year extended sentence. He must serve at least two thirds of the eight-year jail term, before his case can be referred to the parole board.

He will then have a four-year licence period. The judge imposed an indefinite restraining order.