by Chinwe Okafor
A bride was brutally beaten by her husband on their wedding night because he couldn’t undo her dress.
Amy Dawson was pinned to the floor by Gavin Golightly just hours after tying the knot in a romantic ceremony in County Durham in August.
The 22-year-old had asked her new husband for help getting out of the white dress she was wearing when he launched the violent attack.
Golightly, 29, said he was under the influence of drugs and could not remember the incident but pleaded guilty to assault at Peterlee Magistrates Court.
Miss Dawson, who shares a child with the man, said the attack was so severe she thought it would kill her.
‘When he lashed out on me on my wedding night I thought I was going to die. I was terrified.
‘He looked like he was going to kill me.
‘Eventually, I escaped and found a hotel porter, who called the police.
‘It was such a lovely day, and I was devastated it ended the way it did. It was a huge celebration full of friends and family, and I thought it would have been the fresh start we needed.’
After getting married in St Mary’s Church in West Rainton, the couple held their reception at nearby Beamish Hall.
Shortly before 1am, the couple retired to a room in the hotel where Ms Dawson tried to get undressed.
‘At 12.55am, the following morning, they went to their room, which she was helped towards by a night porter,’ said prosecutor Sarah Traynor.
‘The defendant then tried to undo Ms Dawson’s dress. She received a crochet (to undo the dress with), but the defendant then refused to undo his new wife’s dress.
‘The defendant then jumped up from his chair, approached Ms Dawson and pushed her over.
‘He then sat on top of her and started punching her with clenched fists. He then got up and left the room. It appears that the defendant then came back to the room.
‘The defendant said he has no recollection of the event, adding that he must have had his drink spiked.
‘He remembers waking up in a hotel room and said he does not get angry when he takes drugs.
‘Ms Dawson had a cut above her left eyebrow and some bruises to her face and chest area.’
Ms Dawson added said her husband had changed dramatically since she fell pregnant eight months after their relationship began.
‘When I first met Gavin, he was lovely. I couldn’t fault him.
‘He was caring and loving, and when we found we were having a baby we were delighted.
‘I fell pregnant after eight months but almost straight away Gavin became controlling and manipilative.
‘It was like walking on eggshells.’
Golightly from Sunderland, pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm at a court hearing last month.
He was given a 12 month community order and a restraining order preventing him from contacting his wife.
Ms Dawson has slammed the sentence as too lenient.
‘The community order was far too soft. The restraining order is the only thing keeping me strong. He means nothing to me now.’
Chairman of the bench Paul Elliott, told Golightly: ‘You do know that when your custody report was asked for, custody was an option because this was a serious assault.
‘But your early guilty plea and mitigation mean that we will give you a 24-month community order with the requirement of supervision.’
He was also ordered to pay £200 in compensation to her, £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.