A pubgoer deliberately kicked a heavily pregnant woman in the stomach and caused her to lose her unborn baby girl, a court has heard.
Roger Bygrave, 37, drank about 10 pints of cider before the alleged incident at the Market House Inn in Dartmouth, Devon, just before 11pm on Valentine’s Day last year.
He is accused of kicking a woman who was 28 weeks pregnant in the stomach. The woman had to undergo an emergency Caesarian section, but her baby daughter was stillborn.
Bygrave, from Townstal Road, Dartmouth, who claims he acted in self-defence, is on trial at Plymouth Crown Court.
He has pleaded not guilty to child destruction and 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 the pregnant woman causing grievous bodily harm with intent. Bygrave also denies assaulting the woman’s sister causing actual bodily harm.
The court heard Bygrave attacked the expectant mother after pub staff told him he could not take his glass outside.
One staff member at the Market House Inn said: “He kicked her in the bottom of the stomach as if he was kicking in a door.”
Adrian Chaplin, opening the case for the Crown Prosecution Service, said the pregnant woman had slapped Bygrave first.
He said: “The prosecution 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 the defendant then pulled the woman's sister to the floor so that she hurt her ankle.
“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,” said Mr Chaplin.
He said the baby was stillborn in the early hours of the following morning.
The court heard that the two sisters and Bygrave had been in the pub that evening.
Ann Temperton, a member of bar staff, challenged Bygrave 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 court was shown several CCTV clips in which Bygrave, who was with his young nephew, confronted a group of six or seven people that included the pregnant woman’s sister.
Mr Chaplin said the expectant mother – 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 showed her walking away and crouching in the street before being helped back into the pub, the barrister said.
Mr Chaplin said that after he was arrested, Bygrave said he had kicked out because “someone came at me”.
He said Bygrave 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 told the court she followed Bygrave out of the pub as he walked into the street with his glass.
She added 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 said: “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 told the court Bygrave was being “rude” and “argumentative” with other pub customers.
She said 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.
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“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 witness said she landed in a puddle and went over to help her pregnant sister. She said she realised later she had bruising on her leg.
The trial continues.
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