A woman who was beaten up so badly by her boyfriend that she
thought she was going to die in the attack has spoken out about her ordeal.
Rachel Mitchell was attacked by her boyfriend Craig Weldon on a day out in York on 14 May. The couple had enjoyed a few drinks before checking into the Diamond Villa Hotel on Vyner Street, when Weldon became annoyed that his girlfriend was on her phone to her daughter.
Rachel Mitchell says Weldon, who she had been in a relationship with for five weeks, suddenly snapped. He threw her phone against the bedroom wall, before turning on her.
Just 5ft tall, she was sitting crossed legged on the bed when he gripped her throat and punched her in the face.
He continued to punch her in the face and chest with both fists, until she fell off the bed to the floor. Weldon’s glasses fell off in the attack and whilst he was desperately looking for them, Rachel fled. She ran out of the hotel in just a T-shirt with blood pouring down her face.
The 46-year-old single mum ran into a nearby Londis shop on Haxby Road. A member of staff described seeing a woman covered in lacerations and blood, with her nails ripped off. The emergency services were called.
After Weldon attacked Rachel, he left the hotel and used her bank card to withdraw £200 from a cashpoint before heading back to his bail hostel on Boroughbridge Road.
Her shocking story comes as a huge rise in domestic abuse has been revealed.
Needed to see him jailed
Rachel, from Sheffield, has had to have three of her front teeth removed and replaced. She has a scar near her eye but fears her actual eye itself has been damaged in the attack too. She says she can feel her eye bouncing up and down as she walks.
Weldon, 35, was sentenced to two years in prison at York Crown Court on 5 July, after pleading guilty to wounding his girlfriend, to criminal damage, fraud and theft. The judge imposed an indefinite restraining order on Weldon, stopping him from contacting Rachel ever again.
The court heard that he had been released from prison on licence, just weeks before he attacked Rachel. He had been serving another sentence for attacking a different woman, in Sheffield in 2017.
That victim was just an acquaintance of Weldon, but he punched her so hard she suffered a brain haemorrhage and a fractured cheek and skull.
Rachel says she has never got her £200 back. After hearing that Weldon had been charged, she was determined to be in court to see him being sentenced.
She wanted to read out her victim statement, so the judge could hear how badly the attack had affected her and her two children. But she says she was shown to a waiting room on arrival at York Crown Court, and staff there told her they would call her into court when the case began. No one did fetch Rachel and she missed the case entirely.
“I needed to see him being sent to prison. I wanted to see him being punished for what he did to me,” Rachel said.
“They said they would tell me when to go into court, but they left me in the waiting room and eventually someone told me I had missed the case. I couldn’t even get any closure by seeing him being sent to prison for what he did.”‘’
‘I can’t get it out of my head’
Rachel says she can’t get over what Weldon did to her. “I told my son I fell off one of those scooters you can hire in York, but he knew that wasn’t true.
“My face was such a mess. The dentist has tried to repair my teeth, but he’s had to put new ones in and they hurt.
“I can’t look in the mirror. I can’t get it out of head, I keep reliving it, him punching me. I thought I was going to die.”
Weldon’s latest victim was left traumatised by her ordeal: “I’m especially anxious when seeing men with glasses.
“I have visions of my daughter being told I’m dead and her having to arrange my funeral. My son has had to see the injuries on my face, that really upset him. He’s worried about anyone new coming into our life.”
Waiving her right to anonymity, Rachel wants her story to be told. She’s worried Weldon will attack another woman when he gets out.
“No woman is safe with him. He just snapped suddenly, into a different person. He wouldn’t stop punching me even when I was on the floor.
“Anyone, any woman who is being hit or punched or hurt by your partner, just get out of the relationship. I know you think they’ll change but honestly, take my word for it, they never will. Leave that relationship and get somewhere safe.”