EVIL Dorset Police officer Matthew Cherry has been found guilty of attacking his pregnant ex–girlfriend in an attempt to destroy their unborn child.
The 35-year-old broke down crying in the dock as the jury delivered the guilty verdict at Winchester Crown Court yesterday.
Describing the attack as “appalling” Judge Keith Cutler jailed Cherry for 10 years for attempting to cause grievous bodily harm and told him: “Every day she looks at her healthy, lovely young son she will no doubt be reminded of his father.”
Cherry wore a balaclava, hoodie and gloves when he attacked six-months-pregnant Caroline Craft in her flat in Norwich Avenue, Bournemouth, on March 24 last year.
He punched her in the face, stomach and back between 20 and 30 times in an attempt to bring on the miscarriage of the baby he did not want.
The court had heard that Cherry had tried to persuade Miss Craft to have an abortion, claiming he could not afford the baby. He even said he’d thought about punching her in the stomach to cause a miscarriage.
Miss Craft suffered extensive bruising following the attack but thankfully her unborn child was unharmed.
She went on to have a healthy baby boy called Archie who is now 15 months old.
Prosecutor Matthew Jewell read part of Miss Craft’s victim impact statement in which she said Cherry’s actions were “unspeakable” and she was still trying to come to terms with the “terrifying” events of that day.
Sentencing Cherry, Judge Cutler said: “It was a pernicious and evil act on your part. There was a high degree of planning.
“It was clear you used your skills and training as a police officer to ensure your mobile phone was left to give yourself an alibi and to mask your appearance.”
He said Cherry even took a vacuum cleaner to the scene pretending to be a cleaner, and destroyed his clothes.
Judge Cutler told Cherry he was only found out when he made the mistake of not destroying a Nike shoe box matching the trainers worn by the attacker.
The judge added: “It is only through good fortune and not anything that you did that Caroline Craft was able to only suffer the physical injuries she has recovered from.
“The emotional scarring will no doubt be with her for life.”
An officer for nine years
MATTHEW Cherry had been working as a patrol officer for Dorset Police for nine years when he carried out the terrifying attack on Caroline Craft and his unborn son.
He was brought up in Lytchett Matravers and attended local schools before going to university and completing a degree.
Once his studies were over, Cherry tried his hand at personal training before making the decision to join the police.
He worked on uniform patrol in Poole and met Caroline Craft through mutual friends. In his spare time, Cherry turned to property developing. He resigned from the police in November last year and was living in Wimpson Lane, Southampton.