Thugs who dangled homeless woman from a 60 ft balcony jailed for twelve years

Shocking: Ewan Gaylard, left, and Declan O'Neill met the woman on the street before taking her back to Gaylard's flat. (Greater Manchester Police)

Two men who dangled a homeless woman from a fifth floor balcony after a drug-fuelled group sex session have been jailed for a total of twelve years.

Declan O'Neill and Ewan Gaylard turned on the victim after meeting her in Oldham city centre, Greater Manchester and taking her back to an apartment.

The woman was left with severe injuries after the men repeatedly punched her in the face, cut her cheek with a piece of glass and pulled her around the flat by her hair.

Police discovered that O'Neill, 22, and Gaylard, 28, had been snorting large quantities cocaine in the run up to the beating, which happened on February 19th.

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The court heard that the woman was punched with such force that her nose collapsed.

Detective Sergeant Pete Morley of Greater Manchester Police said: 'At one point she went onto the 60 foot-high balcony with the intention of screaming for help.

'The defendants followed her and one said "I'm going to f***ing kill you".

Declan O'Neill was jailed for ten years after he admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent. (Greater Manchester Police)

'He lifted her legs up as if to throw her over the balcony. They were about halfway up the building and it would have been a 60ft-drop to the ground.

'She grabbed hold of the railing and was then grabbed by the hair and pulled back into the flat.'

The victim, 30, said that the pair warned her that they disfigure her further with acid before she was able to make an escape from the flat with blood pouring down her face and without her clothes.

She was taken in by a neighbour whose home she knocked on pleading for help.

O'Neill had been celebrating his release from prison with Gaylard after serving a sentence for burglary when the pair met the victim outside a Bargain Booze store in the city centre.

She was reportedly homeless and alcohol dependent after suffering a series of personal tragedies.

Prosecutor Adam Lodge said: 'They got chatting and they said they were celebrating and they invited her back to Gaylard's flat where they continued to drink and she spent some time there listening to music and smoking and drinking.

Ewan Gaylard (Greater Manchester Police)

'She was sipping from a bottle of Brandy and cocaine was consumed.

'The victim accepts she took a small amount of cocaine but the defendants took significantly more.

'She started to ask if they would like it if they removed their clothes and sex took place which continued for some time.

'However, when they were finished things changed and the behaviour of the defendants became aggressive and physical towards her.

'She was accused by Gaylard of stealing money and was told she was not allowed to leave.

'It was then that they subjected her to a sustained and violent ordeal. She was punched to the face and head and Gaylard punched the victim so violently to her nose it caused it to collapse.

'They continued with the severe beating and this resulted in further bruises of her face. The violence spilled out onto the balcony and she said she clung onto the balcony rail for her life.

'She was dragged back into the flat by her hair and threatened with acid and there were further punches to her face.

'A mirror was broken and O'Neill picked up a piece of glass and caused injury to his own neck.


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'At that point the violence seemed to come to an end. But before she was told to leave O'Neill struck her forcibly to the face with a piece of broken glass from the mirror.

'The wound was a full-depth laceration to her face which needed 13 stitches.

'Her cheek was completely sliced apart. It will stay with her indefinitely.

'She left the flat and left her property at the flat, and was running round the streets in a panic.

The two defendants were seen to be discarding a carrier bag which was later found to be the victims clothing and a shard of broken glass used to cause the injury.

Officers went inside the apartment block and found a bloody trial leading straight to the flat, which was identified as Gaylard's.

They found more blood splatters on the floor and found there were attempts made to clean up after themselves by evidence of cleaning products and cloths.

Judge Paul Lawton said: 'This was a sustained and ruthless assault which occurred after she he came back to your flat and you all engaged in sexual activity.

'Appallingly brutal': The pair were sentenced at Minshull Street Crown Court

'She was punched repeatedly to the face which sufficient force to break her nose.

'She also had extensive bruising to her face which left her unrecognisable as a human being. Her cheek was sliced with a shard of the glass and the wound was full depth gaping. She was in terror as she left the property.

'You sought to cover your tracks by cleaning up the trail of blood and disposing of her clothing but evidence has shown that was futile.

'I've got to take into account her vulnerability and that the offence was committed whilst you were under the influence of a controlled substance.'

O'Neill was jailed for ten years after he admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent and an unrelated robbery offence, at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester.

Gaylard was jailed for two years after admitting the lesser charge of causing grievous bodily harm.

The court heard the victim 'does not believe she will ever get past' the attack.

She's been left so badly traumatised she has moved away from the region and has been supported by agencies in finding a place to live and recover from her ordeal.

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