Policeman denies punching pregnant ex-girlfriend in stomach because he was 'desperate for an abortion'

 

A police officer today denied he was the masked attacker who repeatedly punched his pregnant ex-girlfriend in the stomach because he did not want her to have his baby.

Matthew Cherry, 35, said he was renovating a house in a neighbouring town he hoped the "little one" might stay at when Caroline Craft was attacked by a man at her flat in Bournemouth, Dorset.

When asked by his defence counsel, if he was the attacker who had gone to the property, Cherry replied: "No I was not."

The prosecution allege it was Cherry who barged his way into Miss Craft's flat in March last year dressed in a balaclava and hooded top to carry out the attack to try and force a miscarriage.

Cherry, who was a serving officer in the Dorset force at the time but also owned several properties, was angry, aggressive and desperate for Miss Craft to have an abortion, Winchester Crown Court has already heard.

Giving evidence to the jury, Cherry agreed he was unhappy when Miss Craft, 27, had told him she was pregnant in October 2010 and he had tried to persuade her to have an abortion.

He admitted that he had been "forceful" when the couple went to see a doctor about the pregnancy and the medic was so concerned about his behaviour she sought advice from a colleague.

"If I'm honest, I didn't want the child in that particular time of my life. I wanted a termination at that point," he told the jury. "I put pressure on her (Miss Craft) to have a termination."

The couple had been living together at the time Miss Craft became pregnant but Cherry said he moved out when she decided to have the child to give her space and because he would go on about the issue.

He denied telling Miss Craft or her friend Carla Hutchings that he had thought about punching her in the stomach so that she would lose the child.

But he did say the couple had talked about a miscarriage.

"Basically Caroline made the comment it would be easier if she miscarried and I basically agreed with the comment," he explained.

The pair had effectively split up after she had decided not to have the termination and she was six months' pregnant when she was attacked.

Cherry, formerly from Parkstone in Poole, Dorset, but now living in Southampton, has been a police constable for nearly ten years. He denies attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and has consistently said he was not the attacker.

The trial has already heard that Miss Craft, who is also a police officer with Dorset, was in her ground-floor flat at around 10am on March 24 waiting for an estate agent to call because she was selling up.

Matthew Jewell, prosecuting, claimed that Cherry pretended to be a cleaner using a vacuum cleaner in what was a planned attack of someone "forensically aware".

She had opened the door which was then pushed violently and attacked with multiple punches to her stomach and back, in a way which targeted her unborn child, the barrister said. Also nothing was taken from the flat - ruling out a robbery.

The attack only ended when the estate agent turned up, with the masked man fleeing. the jury was told, using a back door as he knew the layout of the building.

Miss Craft did not suffer serious injuries and she gave birth to a healthy boy.

The case was adjourned to tomorrow when Cherry is expected to be cross examined.

PA

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