Roger Bygrave is standing trial at Plymouth Crown Court accused of wilfully kicking the pregnant woman to her lower abdomen with intent to destroy the life of a child capable of being born alive, causing the child to die before it had an existence independent of her mother
A heavily pregnant woman lost her unborn child after a pub drinker deliberately kicked her in the stomach, a jury has heard.
Roger Bygrave lashed out at the expectant mum after a member of staff at the Market House Inn told him he couldn’t take his glass outside, prosecutors have alleged.
Just hours after the kick landed the woman on Valentine’s Day lost her 28-week unborn daughter, Devon Live reported.
One member of the staff told the jury at Plymouth Crown Court: “He kicked her in the bottom of the stomach as if he was kicking in a door.”
Bygrave is on trial after claiming he acted in self-defence.
Adrian Chaplin, opening the case for the Crown Prosecution Service, said that the pregnant woman had slapped Bygrave first.
He said: “The prosecution’s case is that in retaliation he deliberately aimed a sharp kick at her stomach. He had a good view, the prosecution say, of where he was kicking her.”
Mr Chaplin said the kick was “spitefully deliberate and unnecessary.”
The barrister said that the defendant then pulled the woman’s sister to the floor so that she hurt her ankle just before 11pm that Saturday night.
Mr Chaplin concluded: “The prosecution say he did so (kick out) with the intention to get back at her in a way that intended to cause her to lose that child and she did.”
He said that the baby was stillborn in the early hours of the following morning.
Bygrave, of Dartmouth, has pleaded not guilty to child destruction.
He denied wilfully kicking the pregnant woman to her lower abdomen with intent to destroy the life of a child capable of being born alive, causing the child to die before it had an existence independent of her mother.
He also pleaded not guilty to assaulting her causing grievous bodily harm with intent on February 14, 2020.
Bygrave finally denied assaulting the woman’s sister causing actual bodily harm that same day.
Mr Chaplin said the sisters and Bygrave were in the pub that night.
He added that Ann Temperton, a member of bar staff, challenged him as he went out with a glass of cider rather than a plastic cup, which was against pub rules.
He added that the defendant “gave her the finger” and carried on outside.
Mr Chaplin said that Ms Temperton went outside with a plastic cup and Bygrave poured his cider into it.
He added that she went inside with the glass.
The barrister played several CCTV clips which showed Bygrave, who was with his young nephew, confronting a group of six and seven people including the sister.
Mr Chaplin said that the pregnant woman – who had spoken to the defendant through the night – was trying to “calm things down”.
He added that she admitted striking him to the face and he said the footage showed he immediately kicked her in the stomach.
The footage then shows her walk away and crouch in the street before being helped back into the pub.
The court heard that Bygrave was quickly arrested and interviewed.
Mr Chaplin said the defendant said he kicked out as “someone came at me”.
He added that he told officers he did not know if the person was male or female and said he would not have kicked out if he had known it was the pregnant woman.
Ms Temperton, on the witness stand, said she followed Bygrave out of the pub as he walked into the street with his glass.
She said that the defendant spent two or three minutes “muttering and mumbling” before he transferred his drink into the plastic glass.
Ms Temperton said that by the time she went back outside several people were stood in the road “shouting and arguing”, including the two sisters.
She added: “He put his foot up and kicked her in the bottom of the stomach as if he was kicking in a door.”
The pregnant woman’s sister said she noticed that Bygrave was being “rude” and “argumentative” with other pub customers that night before the incident outside.
She added: “There were a lot of people around, pushing and shoving.”
The witness said that her sister knew the defendant and was trying to calm him down.
She added: “The next thing I know was him raising his foot and kicking her in the stomach. To be honest, everything which happened after that was a bit blurry. It all seemed to happen at once.
“I hit him across the face and he grabbed me by the hair and dragged me to the floor.”
The sister said she landed in a puddle and went over to help the pregnant woman. She said she realised later that she was bruised up her leg.
The trial, which is likely to go into next week, continues.