A BRAVE mother-of-five has spoken of her terror at having to run away from her abusive and controlling partner in nothing but a hoodie after a brutal and prolonged attack.
Gemma Hudson, 29, told how she was vomiting blood as her ex-boyfriend, convicted right-wing thug Bernard Holmes, landed punch after punch in his Blackburn home on the same day he asked her to marry him.
She said he also choked her, headbutted her, ripped out chunks of her hair, threw her to the floor, kicked her, banged her head against a wall and a radiator, and bit her on the face and mouth in the four-hour attack on April 14.
Ms Hudson was put into an induced coma for three days with a bleed on the brain. She also had soft tissue damage to the jaw, which meant she was forced to endure a liquid diet and had bruises all over her face and body, as well as bite marks.
While Ms Hudson was in hospital Holmes, who was jailed for 18 months in 2012 for leading a violent English Defence League flashmob protest in Blackburn, was texting her telling her to ‘stop milking it’.
Holmes, who led EDL protests outside Blackburn’s Haslingden Road KFC dressed as a chicken in 2010, fled after beating up Ms Hudson – the mother of one of his two children – in Pilmuir Road but gave himself in after 10 days.
Reliving the terrifying attack Ms Hudson, who works as a kitchen assistant at a care home during the week and a licensed door supervisor at weekends, said: “I went to his house at about 3pm. For an hour it was fine. From about 4pm to 8pm it was constant beating.
“I had asked to got to my friend’s hen party on the Thursday. It was for the older friends and relatives and those with children who couldn’t go to the one abroad. It was a surprise thing so, because I had to keep it to myself, I had only told him a few days earlier. He was scrolling through my phone and had text my best friend and told her I wasn’t going without my knowledge.
“The next minute he was raining punches on me to the point I was sick all over his living room floor. He took pictures of me being sick and shared them on Whatsapp.
“He would ask me questions while strangling me. He would count down ‘five, four, three, two, one’ then he would either punch me, headbutt me or bite the side of me face and then floor me. He would then pick me back up by my hair or my throat.
“After a while I asked to wash my mouth out. I could feel myself choking on my own blood. I put the tap on to pretend I was washing my mouth out and managed to run out the door. All I had on was one of his hoodies. I had nothing on my feet.
“I legged it to the next street to get help. He was seen on CCTV chasing me round the street and round a car. When everyone came out because they could hear me screaming he ran off and was on the run from the police for 10 days.”
Ms Hudson, who met Holmes while stewarding at Accrington Stanley two years ago, said she was aware of his past when she met him but not the full extent of it.
She said she wished she had looked into Clare’s Law, the domestic violence disclosure scheme, when she met him and encouraged other women to do the same.
During their relationship which she described as being “on and off like a light”, Ms Hudson said Holmes assaulted her on more than one occasion – although she never reported that to the police – would regularly accuse her of cheating on him, throw her belongings out of the car, kick her out of the car and make her walk home and verbally abuse her.
Ms Hudson, of Oswaldtwistle, said she has now lost confidence and fears reprisals. She said she has been unable to go out because she has been left with bald patches where Holmes had ripped her hair out and has been left with jaw pain.
She added: “I do regret meeting him. I should have listened to everybody else who said he was a girl beater and violent. The only good thing that has come out of this is my son,”
Holmes, who was jailed for 28 months in 2010 for leaving victim Sean Baxendale with catastrophic injuries in a two-punch attack outside Bar Ibiza in Blackburn, pleaded guilty to ABH and harassment.
He was jailed for three years at Preston Crown Court and Recorder Murray also imposed a retraining order banning Holmes from contacting Ms Hudson for life.
Det Con David Richardson said: “This was a nasty and sustained attack and Holmes deliberately caused more harm than was necessary, leading to significant injuries. The police will continue to deal robustly with perpetrators of domestic violence and put them before the courts”
For help and advice on domestic abuse visit http://www.lancashire.police.uk/help-advice/personal-safety/domestic-abuse