'The man who left me drinking through a straw'

Joshua Benali
-Credit: (Image: Merseyside Police)

A thug left his ex-girlfriend battered at the bottom of the stairs, with her bedroom walls and ceiling splattered with blood.Joshua Benali's victim was left with a missing tooth and broken bones after enduring a brutal attack in her own home following a surprise birthday party.

He eventually turned himself in to the police after being urged to do so by his mum. Liverpool Crown Court heard the 33 year old had been in a relationship with the woman for around two years, but had separated a year before March 9 this year.

That evening, both attended the same party before she returned home with a friend and two of Benali's friends - who had reportedly not been invited. Michael O'Brien, prosecuting, said how they eventually left and the woman went to the bathroom. However, when she opened the door after using the facilities, she found her ex-partner standing on the other side.

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The mother told him to leave, but instead, she was repeatedly punched in the face by Benali. She next remembered lying at the bottom of her stairs, with her neighbour and police officers now present, reports the Liverpool Echo.

Crime scene investigators discovered the walls, ceilings and floor of her bedroom covered in blood. She was transported to Whiston Hospital by ambulance, where it was determined that she had suffered injuries including fractured nasal bones.

The victim, who lost one tooth and had another loosened in the attack, shared her ordeal through a statement read to the court. She said: "This crime has left me with life-changing injuries. The pain was absolutely horrendous. I couldn't eat and I had to drink through a straw. My mental health has deteriorated dramatically. Even though some time has passed, I'm still feeling sick with anxiety."

Benali, of Avondale Road in Haydock, unsuccessfully attempted to contact the victim via his mum following the incident, but handed himself in to the police on March 10 after she told him to do so. He has three previous convictions for five offences including battery and criminal damage in January 2023, in which his former partner was the victim.

Paul Becker, defending, told the court his client had secured jobs working as a wing cleaner and food server in HMP Liverpool since his remand into custody, adding: "A number of members of staff have commented on the defendant's work ethic. Instead of causing trouble and being difficult, he is working hard.

"The defendant instructs me that he was invited round to the address. He appreciates, in particular given his previous convictions, that it may be that your honour will conclude that the only appropriate punishment is immediate imprisonment. If your honour comes to that view then he will understand, because this is a serious offence. The defendant has expressed that he is disgusted, embarrassed and heartbroken in relation to the harm he has caused to the victim."

"The defendant is very disappointed to find himself in custody. He is trying to make the best of the situation. He understands that he has done wrong. He understands that he needs to stop being violent towards females. He has learned his lesson. He will use his time in custody constructively."

Benali admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm. He was jailed for two years and handed a five-year restraining order.

Sentencing, Recorder David Knifton KC said: "It appears to have been an unhealthy relationship. Your own description is that it was a toxic relationship. There is a a history of domestic violence. It appears that both of you had been invited to a surprise birthday party, held in honour of your sister. At the end of that party, the two of you ended up going back to her house along with one of her friends and two of yours. Whether or not you were invited is unclear, and whether or not an argument developed is unclear.

"What does not appear to be in dispute is that she made it quite clear that she wanted you to leave. Matters having gone quiet, she assumed you had left. But when she left the bathroom, she found you standing in front of her. You then assaulted her including, it would seem, repeatedly punching her.

"Having assaulted her in that way, you then left the house and initially tried to evade the police. There can be no doubt that this assault has had a significant and lasting impact upon her. I accept that you demonstrate genuine remorse and shame at your actions. I have also read a number of impressive references, particularly those from prison officers in relation to the time you have spent in custody to date.

"You are described as hard working and compassionate. You have been given a trusted role in custody. It was undoubtedly a prolonged and persistent assault against a victim who was vulnerable. Your actions appear to have been impulsive, no doubt sparked by an argument which had developed."