Bristol businessman who attacked ex with hammer tries to cut jail time

Alec and Anna Butt
Butt tried to appeal appeal against the sentence on 30 July 2021. Credit: BPM Media

A business man who savagely attacked his ex-wife with a hammer and screwdriver has failed to get his jail term cut.

On 28 December 2019, Alex Butt used the weapons to strike the head and arms of Anna Butt, also the mother of his children. At the time, he said he wanted "to punish her for leaving him."

The 71-year-old, then of Rylestone Grove in Westbury-on-Trym, had tried to hide himself behind a hoodie and mask. He hid behind the bins, crept up on Anna and repeatedly struck her outside her workplace on Whiteladies Road, Clifton.

Butt was sentenced in May 2021 at Bristol Crown Court to seven years and nine months in prison, after being found guilty of grievous bodily harm.

His lawyer Paul Mendelle QC appeared at Swansea Crown Court on 30 July in an appeal against the sentence — but this was dismissed by the judge, Dame Nicola Davies.

The hammer and screwdriver Alec Butt used in the attack. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

The lawyer said: "Had the judge correctly directed himself, he would have concluded that the victim was not targeted because she was vulnerable, she was targeted because she was [Butt's] ex-wife and because [Butt] was resentful, jealous and angry.

"Further, the victim was not vulnerable in any accepted sense of the word, she was a woman of full age and understanding, a graduate, a mother of twins and a part-time worker."

He also claimed Judge Patrick had failed to note this was an "isolated incident" and argued should have been a "mitigating factor".

Anna suffered injuries to her head, face and hands. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

But Dame Nicola described Judge Patrick as "very well placed" to assess the evidence, adding: "He had seen the victim and read her personal statement, which evidenced the significant effect which the attack has had both upon herself and her 10-year-old daughters.

"The judge rightly described this as a 'terrifying attack'. It was also sustained. [Butt], having armed himself with a hammer and a screwdriver, ruthlessly used one or more weapons upon the victim.

"It is to the victim's credit that she felt able to fight back and thus avoid some of the injuries which could have flowed from the attack.

"In our judgment, it follows that the sentence passed was not manifestly excessive, it properly reflected the criminal conduct of this appellant. Accordingly, and for the reasons given, this appeal is dismissed."

Butt's original prison sentence of seven years and nine months remains unchanged.

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