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Gemma Hudson, 29, from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, had to be put into a coma because her injuries were so severe

Gemma was brutally beaten for saying no to a marriage proposal

When mum-of-five Gemma Hudson turned down her boyfriend’s marriage proposal she could not have imagined the horror that was the come.

The 29-year-old was stripped naked, doused in vodka and punched so hard she crashed through a patio window during her terrifying four hour ordeal.

Gemma, of Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, was so brutally attacked by EDL thug Bernard Holmes she was vomiting blood as she begged him to stop.

Holmes choked, headbutted, ripped out chunks of Gemma’s hair, threw her to the floor, kicked her, banged her head against a wall and radiator and bit her on the face and mouth.

What makes the brutal assualt even more chilling is just moments earlier, he had been pleading with her to marry him.

Holmes subjected Gemma to a horrific four hour ordeal (Image: Focus Features)

Gemma finally escaped the terrible attack when she grabbed a back door key and fled wearing just a hooded sweatshirt.

She said: “One minute he was asking me to marry him, the next he was punching me over and over again.

“I really thought I was going to die. He was like a mad man.”

Gemma’s injuries were so bad she had to be 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 eat a liquid diet and had bruises all over her face and body, as well as bite marks.

And while her panic-stricken mother, Lesley, sat at her hospital bedside, Holmes, who was jailed for 18 months in 2012 for leading a violent English Defence League protest in Blackburn, was texting her telling her to ‘stop milking it’.

Holmes, who led other EDL protests outside a KFC dressed as a chicken in 2010, went on the run for 10 days after beating up Gemma, the mother of his seven-month old son, Harley-Ryan.

Gemma, who works as a kitchen assistant at a care home during the week and a licensed door supervisor at weekends, said: “He asked to meet up with me, so I went to his house to talk to him.

“Everything was fine at first. He said he wanted to get back with me and be a proper family.

“He’d asked me to marry him several times before but this time he got down on one knee and asked me again.

“Things had not been right between me and Bernard, and we had been off and on for several months.

“He had never been violent before, but I told him that it could never work between us.

“He seemed to take it in, but then he took my phone and started scrolling through the messages.

“He found an invitation to a hen night and hit the roof. He texted all my friends to tell them I wasn’t going.

“The next minute he was raining punches on me to the point I was sick all over his living room floor.

“I looked up and saw him taking photos of me being sick and shared them on WhatsApp. He was laughing like a madman.

“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.

“He punched me so hard, I fell through the patio door. I could feel the cold air on my face and I tried to scream for help and he put his hand over my mouth and dragged me back in.

“I was thrown on settee by my hair and punched in the face. I asked to wash my mouth out. I could feel myself choking on my own blood.

“I spotted the back-door key on the kitchen work top. I put the tap on to pretend I was washing my mouth out and managed to grab the key and get out of the door.

“All I had on was one of his hoodies. I had nothing on my feet.

“I ran to the next street to get help. He was seen on CCTV chasing me round the street and round a car.

“I was screaming at the top of my voice. I thought I was going to die.

“A man came out and helped me, followed by another. Then I remember blue flashing lights.

“Bernard ran off and was on the run from the police for 10 days.”

Gemma, 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 so.

During their relationship, Gemma said binge-drinking Holmes would regularly accuse her of cheating on him and verbally abuse her.

She added: “I no longer feel safe going out. I’m practically a prisoner in my own home. I feel trapped. I’m terrified of something happening to me and my kids.

“He ripped clumps of my hair out and left me with bald patches. I feel so self-conscious and paranoid.

“I do regret meeting him. I should have listened to others who said he was violent.

” I had no idea what he was really like and I had no idea about the far-right marches and all the violence.

“I was disgusted when I found out. 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 restraining 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.”

Daily Mirror

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

Lancashire Telegraph

A politician’s eight-year-old daughter was “petrified” when anti-Islamic protesters marched into the garden of their home with banners and banged on the window.

Lancashire MEP Sajjad Karim’s home was targeted by the English Defence League (EDL) as part of a day of protests against “radical Islam” in the county on July 2 last year.

Twelve admitted public order offences at Preston Crown Court for offences committed during the protests at another location in Brierfield and will be sentenced on May 25.

Speaking from Brussels, Mr Karim, who was due to give evidence, said: “It is not the sort of thing any child should ever have to be prepared for.”

Bernard Holmes, 26, of Bolton Road; Leonard Hawley, 47, of Worcester Road; David Wilson, 47, of Devon Road, all Blackburn, and Jason Smith, 43, of Torquay Avenue, Burnley pleaded guilty to racially aggravated provocation of violence while David Garrett, 45, of Beckett Street, Darwen, admitted having an offensive weapon.

Leanne Thornton, 26, of Oak Avenue, Todmorden; Graham Smith, 48, of Draperfield, Chorley; Paul Blundell, 45, of Lee Street, Longridge, John English, 24, of Shorrock Lane, Blackburn; Martin Corner, 31, of Corporation Street, Chorley; Jordan Lonsdale, 20, of Ribble Lane, Clitheroe, and Paul Jackson, 41, of Spring Bank Terrace, Blackburn, pleaded not guilty to violent disorder but admitted using threatening behaviour.

Sajjad Karim added: “To be afraid to leave ones house as a mob fuelled by hate protests outside is as frightening as it gets. They showed no regard to the fact my wife and daughter were at home.

“It left me hoping and praying that our four walls would keep us safe and you can’t begin to imagine how my young daughter felt.

“There were many more innocent people caught up in their violence that day and I am thankful this eleventh hour change of plea means they won’t have to relive their ordeal in a courtroom.

“We have not and will not allow such mobs to use their threatening ways to hound people in our society.”

Lancashire Evening Post

The group barricaded Tory MEP Sajjad Karim’s house, shouting abuse and holding EDL placards with Mr Karim, his wife and their two children still inside.

Before police made it to the scene they continued on a ‘flash demonstrations’ rampage around Lancashire

Violence later broke out in Brierfield where a 17-year-old Asian man was floored in the street and one man was run over.

Bernard Holmes, an English Defence League commander has been jailed for leading a mob of EDL members to the house of a Muslim MEP

Bernard Holmes, an English Defence League commander has been jailed for leading a mob of EDL members to the house of a Muslim MEP

A ‘commander’ in the English Defence League who led a mob of 40 people to barricade the home of Conservative MEP Sajjad Karim has been jailed for 18 months.

Bernard Holmes, 28, was arrested after members of far right group converged on the property of Mr Karim whilst his wife and two young children were at home.

Claiming they wanted to deliver a letter, invaded the politician’s driveway and were said to have behaving in an ‘intimidating, threatening manner’ and shouting abuse whilst holding up placards from the EDL.

Police were called to the house in Burnley but were too late as the mob had already moved on to carry out a string of ‘flash demonstrations’ in Blackburn and nearby towns led by Holmes.

This is not the first time Mr Karim has experienced harassment from far-right groups like the EDL: In 2010, Mr Karim said he was forced to hire a private security firm for round the clock protection due to threats.

Mr Karim, MEP for North West, said he believed he was targeted for religious reasons because the EDL have an ‘anti-Islamic agenda’.

Mr Holmes, who goes under the nickname ‘Mr B’ is the EDL Blackburn division’s ‘commander’ and led the operation on July 2 last year.

Holmes, from Blackburn pleaded guilty to racially aggravated public order offences and was also given a five year CRASBO on top of his 18 month prison sentence at Preston Crown Court today.

The court heard how the group gathered outside 41-year old Mr Karim’s house at lunchtime in July last year to stage an anti-Islamic protest allegedly regarding EU proposals on the labelling of Halal meat.

The demonstrators carrying placards reportedly went into Mr Karim’s garden and began shouting abuse at him, before peering through his windows and filming his house

Mr Karim was in the house with his wife, Zahida, and two children, 10-year-old Bilal, and Rabia, eight, at the time of the protest.

At the time Mr Karim said: ‘It was very intimidating experience for us. They were all over my driveway and looking into my house.

‘I had my family in the house and it is just disgusting that they were able to do this. My daughter has been left petrified’

Mr Karim, who defected from the Liberal Democrats in 2007, said the group had gone to his house in Burnley, claiming that one member had wanted to deliver a letter to him.

He said people normally used a stamp or arranged to deliver the letter to his parliamentary address.

‘That really was a pretence,’ he said.

‘Their intention was to intimidate, to cause fright to my family and that is why they went about things in the way they did.’

Holmes had a history of violence and in 2010 was jailed for two years and four months after he beat up a man outside a nightclub and left him brain damaged.

After Mr Holmes and the group left Mr Karim’s fighting broke out in nearby Brierfield town centre.

Members of EDL attacked a 17-year-old called Azhar Iqbal and nearby a man was run down by an EDL supporter’s car.

Three people were jailed and seven others were given non custodial sentences for the events in Brierfield town centre. Two other people failed to appear at court and warrants have been issued for their arrest.

It has been confirmed that Bernard Holmes was involved in the general violence but not in these specific events

Lawyers representing them insisted there was no pre-meditated plan to cause trouble in Brierfield.

Supt Steve Pemberton of Lancashire said he was pleased with the convictions and the sentences imposed.

‘This was a spontaneous incident on a busy Saturday afternoon which could have been much more serious than it fortunately was had it not been for the speedy police response and that of local community leaders who were able to quell any subsequent rise in tensions.

Daily Mail

Bernard Holmes, EDL thug with multiple convictions for violence.

Bernard Holmes, EDL thug with multiple convictions for violence.

A FAMILY has hit out at the sentence given to a man who caused ‘catastrophic’ injuries when he threw two punches outside a Blackburn nightspot.

Bernard Holmes, 24, of Coleridge Street, Blackburn, is starting a two-year, four month sentence after admitting grievous bodily harm (GBH) on Sean Baxendale.

But after the case Mr Baxendale’s sister slammed the sentence, saying Holmes, who had previous convictions for common assault and actual bodily, harm, was a ‘dangerous man’ who should have got life.

Holmes threw two punches at Mr Baxendale, 44, outside Bar Ibiza, Mincing Lane, in what the court heard was an unprovoked attack on May 17.

The second strike connected and knocked him out.

Mr Baxendale suffered an extensive skull fracture and had to have bones removed in order to relieve pressure on his brain.

After months in hospital, he was left with a continuing brain injury, often getting confused over simple things.

Once a fit and active man, he had undergone a personality change following the attack, Preston Crown Court was told.

Mr Baxendale’s sister Maggie Garth said the whole family was devastated by the attack.

She said: “His personality has changed. Sean was lively and outgoing. Now he has not got the same patience. He had to learn and talk again.

“He will be living with it for the rest of his life.”

The attack on Mr Baxendale, and the killings of Adam Rogers and Christopher Folkes in Blackburn, prompted his nephew Kirk Bullen to launch the Make Lancashire Safer Campaign.

Maggie said the judge had undermined this battle: “I think the sentence handed out is atrocious and the courts have let us down.

“There are campaigns against violence. How can you can make a town safer if the courts aren’t helping us?

“The sentence has just knocked us all for six. To me, with his previous convictions, you should get life.”

After the case, Detective Constable Mark Cruise said: “This type of incident shows that even one punch can have horrific consequences.”

Holmes had stood trial on a more serious charge of GBH with intent, but a jury had found him not guilty .

The court was told that initially, another man (not the defendant) was seen arguing with Mr Baxendale outside the premises.

Stephen McNally, prosecuting, said that male punched Mr Baxendale to the face.

Holmes then crossed the road and struck out at Mr Baxendale.

A second blow knocked him to the ground, where he lay unconscious, having struck his head with some force as he fell.

Holmes had previous convictions including five acts of common assault and one of actual bodily harm.

Daniel King, defending, said: “The defendant says the extent of Mr Baxendale’s injuries have shocked him, in fact, appalled him.

“He had no intention to cause any serious injury.”

Lancashire Telegraph