Drunken man in Devon jailed after kicking pregnant woman causing her to lose baby

Roger Bygrave has been jailed for two and half years for inflicting grievous bodily harm on a woman in Devon
Roger Bygrave has been jailed for two and half years for inflicting grievous bodily harm on a woman in Devon. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

A man from Devon has been jailed for kicking a pregnant woman in the abdomen so hard that her unborn baby died.

Roger Bygrave, of Townstal Road in Dartmouth, had been drinking all day before attacking Alison Bolton outside the Market House Inn on 14 February 2020.

The 38-year-old was caught on CCTV kicking Alison on the stomach during an argument after he broke the pub’s rules by leaving with a glass tankard instead of a plastic mug.

‘Your kick caused the loss of a child'

He previously admitted causing grievous bodily harm and has now been jailed for two and a half years by Judge Peter Johnson, who described Bygrove’s behaviour as "grotesque".

He said: "The distress you caused by the loss of the baby is unimaginable and had left physical and emotional scars.

"While you have expressed remorse, it seems to me you consider yourself to be the victim of this case. None of this would have happened if you had behaved properly that night.

"The harm you caused is clear. Your kick caused the loss of a child, which is a particularly grave form of harm with terrible consequences, as you well know.

"You will have to live with for the rest of your life knowing that your kicked caused the death of Robyn. This is clearly the most serious harm."

'That day I lost a piece of my soul'

Alison, 36, had gone to the pub with her sister to be with her mother – who works at the venue – to mark the death of her grandfather 16 years ago.

Bygrove had been drinking since lunchtime at pubs in Cornworthy and Dartmouth. He had consumed at least 10 pints of cider, and had already been thrown out of the Angling Club.

Roger had been drinking since lunchtime on the day of the attack and had drunk at least ten pints of cider

He kicked Alison with the sole of his shoe after she intervened during a fracas by slapping him in the face.

Exeter Crown Court heard he struck her "as if he was trying to kick in a door".

Alison was taken to hospital where she had an emergency caesarean section but doctors were unable to save her daughter Robyn.

Robyn had been a perfectly healthy 28-week embryo before the attack.

In a victim impact statement, Alison said: "I not only lost my unborn child, I lost myself and my sense of self respect as a result of this brutal assault.

"That day I lost a piece of my soul."

Alison said she now suffers from agoraphobia – a type of anxiety disorder – and has had to give up work as a waitress.

She has since become pregnant again and given birth to healthy child since the attack but says she remains physically and emotionally scarred by the loss of Robyn.

Mr Sean Brunton, defending Bygrave, said his actions were instinctive and spontaneous and he never intended the tragic consequence.

He said: “It was short, spontaneous and unplanned. It was an unintended and very much regretted incident."

He had previously been found not guilty of assault with the intention of killing an unborn child at a trial in Plymouth in September last year.