Every third day, in our #EveryThreeDays campaign, I write about a woman killed by a man. Previously in this campaign, which started on the 2nd of May 2021, I have remembered 94 women, the last being Leah Cohen and Hannah Cohen, whose bodies were discovered by police in Golders Green, North-West London, in August 2017.
Today we remember Andrea Lewis, 51, who was found dead at an address in Fairyland Road, Tonna, Neath, South Wales on 31st January 2016, with an incredible 43 injuries, including a fractured skull and broken ribs. She died after a drinking spree with her turbulent partner of four years, Rhys Hobbs who was subsequently arrested and charged. In court, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Roger Thomas QC, prosecuting, told the court “that Andrea was often seen by colleagues at Neath’s Castle Hotel where she worked covered with bruises – at one stage the injuries were so bad she was moved from serving in the restaurant to duties that kept her away from the public eye.
On January 31, Hobbs, Miss Lewis and their friend Keith Thomas drank in the St Ives pub in Neath before going back to the house Mr Thomas owned on Gnoll View, Fairyland Road, and where Hobbs was a lodger.
Later that night, the court heard that Miss Lewis was viciously attacked before being dragged outside and left to die – but Hobbs claimed he had no recollection of what happened due to his “extreme” intoxication.
Hobbs was sentenced to eight years in prison, but many felt his sentence was too lenient. The case was returned to the courts by the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP, under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme and was subsequently increased to twelve and a half years.
Speaking after the hearing Robert Buckland said “It’s important we send a message that violence in a domestic setting is completely unacceptable and I’m pleased the court has agreed Hobbs should spend longer in jail for his crimes.”
This case however causes me a wider concern.
If Andrea’s employer moved her from public duties did they not realise she was in danger?
Did they not know about Domestic Abuse Awareness Courses for employers?
If not, now is too late.