By Dave Lord
RESIDENTS OF a block of flats in Perth told police they heard tortured cries resembling “shrieks from a horror film” as a former boxer subjected his partner to a seven-hour beating.
Booze-fuelled John Kerr repeatedly punched Priscilla Taylor, dragged her around by the hair and stamped on her head during the terrifying ordeal.
Perth Sheriff Court heard how the 25-year-old downed 10 bottles of lager before launching the savage attack.
When police arrived at the flat in the Letham area they found Miss Taylor badly battered and bruised.
Her first words to the officers were, “Thank God, thank God you are here. I am so glad to see you. I have been getting beaten for seven hours.”
Even after being arrested Kerr failed to calm down and a police constable was hospitalised after the accused lashed out at him.
At one point during her ordeal Miss Taylor made an attempt to escape but chilling CCTV footage taken from the communal area outside the flat showed Kerr dragging her back into the property, slamming the door closed on her leg.
He yesterday admitted assaulting Miss Taylor in a flat on Strathtay Road on January 26.
Kerr, c/o Perth prison, repeatedly seized her by the neck, repeatedly punched her on her head and body, stamped on her head and slammed a door on her leg.
He also flung his victim to the floor and threw a glass bottle at her, all to her injury.
Kerr further admitted a charge of assaulting Police Constable Craig Gardiner and pleaded guilty to possessing the class A drug cocaine.
Depute fiscal Janine Bates said the vicious assault started at around midnight and continued for some seven hours.
“Miss Taylor had been involved in a relationship with the accused for about one and half years,” she told the court.
“Over the course of the evening in question the accused consumed approximately 10 bottles of lager and his mood had darkened.
“At about midnight on the 25th going into the 26th he started arguing with Miss Taylor about her having been in a relationship with another male.
“He began to shout and swear at her, calling her a slag and a whore.”
The situation very quickly spiralled out of control.
“The accused grabbed her by the neck and started to punch her on the head, face and body,” Ms Bates said. “He landed continuous blows one after another using force as if he was involved in a proper fight as he had been trained as a boxer.”
With blows raining down on her Miss Taylor fell to the floor—only for Kerr to then stamp on her head.
The complainer managed to push Kerr off and fled through the door but her freedom was short-lived.
“CCTV footage from the communal area outside the property’s door showed Miss Taylor attempting to get out of the door but then the accused is seen behind her, pulling her back into the house and them slamming the door closed on her leg,” Ms Bates told the court.
“He pulled her through the hallway and into the living room by her hair.
“Witnesses in flats in the same building were woken up by the ongoing disturbance and heard Miss Taylor screaming, ‘No, no. Stop.’
“The screams were described as like shrieks from a horror film.”
Kerr eventually ordered Miss Taylor upstairs and told her to pack away his belongings, which she did.
“The accused then told her to have a lie down on the bed,” the depute fiscal said.
“She did so but a few moments later he picked up the end of the bed and threw her to the floor.
“He again grabbed her by the hair and dragged her down the stairs where the punching and kicking recommenced.”
A neighbour eventually contacted the police at 7.30am and two officers arrived a short time later.
Miss Taylor was taken by ambulance to Perth Royal Infirmary where she was treated for severe bruising and swelling to her head, face, arms, body and legs.
Meanwhile Kerr was taken to police HQ in Perth where he refused to agree to a search and lashed out.
While being restrained he violently struck out, causing PC Gardiner’s right hand to bend backward.
“A cracking noise could be heard... and the constable was taken to PRI and then Ninewells,” Ms Bates added.
“He underwent surgery under a general anaesthetic for a damaged ligament in his right thumb.
“It is possible there will be permanent impairment but it is too early for a medical opinion at this time.”
PC Gardiner has now resumed work with the police and is understood to be carrying out “light duties.”
Cocaine was found as officers carried out a subsequent strip search.
Kerr’s solicitor Jim Laverty said the accused— who has several analogous previous convictions—was depressed at the time of the incident as he had recently lost his employment.
“He is ashamed of his behaviour and has indicated remorse for his involvement,” the defence agent said.
“He had a number of personal difficulties which had caused him to seek solace in alcohol and drugs.
“The pair had been arguing, with raised voices and throwing of personal possessions by both parties,” Mr Laverty added.
“However, Mr Kerr then snapped and lost all form of control.”
The solicitor said Kerr has written to Miss Taylor to apologise and added that the accused intends to spend his “inevitable” jail term constructively by undertaking anger management and attending anti- domestic abuse courses.
Sheriff Robert McCreadie deferred sentence until June 15 for reports.
“There is no doubt there will be a significant custodial disposal and the accused will be remanded in custody meantime,” the sheriff said.