Four jailed for brutal torture of 'child-like' woman (26)
Published 15/03/2011 | 05:00
Four people who subjected a woman with learning difficulties to a "sustained period of torture", including branding her face with a hot iron, were jailed in Britain yesterday.
Lisa Hill, Karl Cook, Mary Willoughby and Kelly Taylor held Louise Hewitt (26) -- who considered the four to be her friends -- for several hours and repeatedly subjected her to brutal beatings.
Exeter Crown Court heard that their "child-like" victim was also attacked with items including a wooden chair, a plant pot and a stiletto shoe because they believed she had been spreading gossip about Cook and Willoughby, who were in a relationship.
The attack on September 26 last year started after Cook arrived at Willoughby's home in Lymington Road, Torquay, Devon.
Ms Hewitt, who considered Willoughby to be her "best friend", was also living there because she had allowed Cook to live in her flat and he had forced her to move out.
Cook, who had been drinking and using cannabis, accused Ms Hewitt of spreading gossip about the couple.
They prevented her from leaving the house and Willoughby spend the next two hours assaulting her as Cook, the "instigator", egged her on.
They later called Taylor and Hill, both of Upton Road, Torquay, to come and join them and the newcomers joined in the violence, before they "frog-marched" their victim to Taylor's flat. Over the course of the next three hours they continued to beat her up.
Judge Graham Cottle told the four: "It was in effect a sustained period of torture, meted out to a completely defenceless and vulnerable victim."
Cook, Willoughby and Taylor were each jailed for eight years while Hill will serve three years.