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UK COURT: Zim woman physically, emotionally and racially abused in alleged domestic violence campaign

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By Irish News


NORTHERN IRELAND: A Woman was subjected to a prolonged campaign of domestic abuse by her partner, a court has heard.

Peter Vermaak (54) from Charlemont Street, Moy faces four counts of assault, twice causing actual bodily harm, false imprisonment and engaging in abusive behaviour causing physical or psychological harm.

Offending allegedly occurred on various dates until his arrest on November 23.

A police officer said Vermaak and the complainant moved from England to Northern Ireland in 2021 so he could have hip surgery. The complainant is from Zimbabwe and planned to obtain her visa and remain in the UK.

She disclosed Vermaak, who is South African but holds UK citizenship, has alcohol issues, and abuse worsened when he was drunk.

In August, the complainant was preparing to go to her part-time job, when Vermaak allegedly threw her against a wall. She could, “hardly breathe with the pain in her ribs” and was unable to go to work.

On November 20, it was claimed Vermaak head-butted her in the face causing her nose to bleed profusely. At around 5.30am the next day, he allegedly attacked her with a metal bar as she lay in bed.

Having waited for him to fall asleep she used his phone to call Women’s Aid who alerted police.

The officer said the complainant “is only allowed to go to work and must return straight away. She has no money and her £57 weekly wages go straight to her family in Zimbabwe. She’s not allowed credit on her phone nor to have contact with anyone”.

Opposing bail, the officer said, “Police believe the defendant will contact the complainant and out of fear, she may no longer cooperate.

“It appears she is financially dependent on him and very fearful. Her visa issues mean Women’s Aid and other agencies cannot help her with accommodation as she isn’t entitled to housing benefit, although efforts are ongoing”.

A defence barrister urged bail to be granted, and contended his client accepted being in a relationship with the complainant in England and when this ended he, “relocated alone to Northern Ireland”.

The defence concluded: “My client insists these allegations are malicious and he fully denies them”.

Despite police objections Judge O’Hare decided bail could be granted to an alternative address.

The case will be mentioned again later this month.