‘Animal’ is jailed for Keighley attack on lesbian couple

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Adrian Feather Adrian Feather

A 22-year-old man has been jailed for six and a half years for a horrific revenge attack on a lesbian couple in Keighley town centre.

Adrian Feather behaved like a wild animal in a drunken rage when he punched, kicked and stamped on Verona Benson and hit Tracey Williams, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Miss Benson, 41, who attended the court hearing on crutches, was an emotional wreck unable to return to the bus driving job she loved, prosecutor Robert Galley told the court yesterday.

She suffered a double fracture and dislocation of her ankle when Feather stamped or jumped on her leg with both feet and fractured cheek and eye sockets from repeated punches that knocked her against a shop window.

Miss Williams, who was screaming at Feather to stop, was felled by a punch to the head.

In a statement to the court, Miss Benson said she had lost her independence, felt trapped in her home and cried every day. She was in a plaster cast and did not know if she would ever be fit enough to drive buses again.

Miss Williams, who works with disabled people, suffered panic attacks and both women were afraid to leave their home.

Mr Galley told the court they attended a wedding reception on Saturday, July 9.

They had left the Cavendish Hotel in Cavendish Street to walk to an off-licence when Feather shouted abuse and angrily confronted them, arms waving.

He punched Miss Benson in the face causing her to stumble backwards. He then threw repeated punches and a kick.

As she lay on the ground, Feather stamped on her right ankle, breaking it.

Miss Williams told the police he was acting like a madman or a wild animal.

Miss Benson, who was bleeding from her nose and eye socket, screamed at him that her leg had snapped but he continued to hit her and then attacked Miss Williams.

Feather, who fled the scene, was arrested the next day and made no comment to the police.

He pleaded guilty to wounding Miss Benson with intent to do her grievous bodily harm and common assault on Miss Williams.

Mr Galley said Miss Benson and Miss Williams were civil partners. It was believed that Feather bore a simmering grudge after an incident at a birthday party in a pub.

In mitigation, Feather’s barrister, Giles Bridge, stressed his young age and said he had pleaded guilty before seeing the medical evidence in the case.

He had a partner and child, accepted that he drank too much and was motivated to change.

The judge, Recorder Dean Kershaw, said he could not understand how Feather was able to inflict such horror on two women.

“You set about them in a way that I agree was like an animal,” he said.

After the case, Detective Constable Gareth Hamer, of Airedale and North Bradford CID, said: “We are very pleased with the sentence passed in this case.

“This was a mindless attack and should be a warning to other would-be criminals that if you commit serious crimes you will be put behind bars.”

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