Rugby thug walks free after battering girlfriend in sickening frenzied attack

A semi-professional rugby player who called his girlfriend 'pathetic' as he battered her and forced his hand down her throat has walked free from court.

The sportsman was convicted of actual bodily harm following a trial, and despite the violence involved, he was handed a suspended prison sentence.

The Liverpool Magistrates' Court chairman of the bench said Kenny Hughes, of St Helens, was "very fortunate" to not go to prison.

Chairman Brian Sweeney said he was giving the rugby player "one chance" and the "benefit of the doubt," reports the Liverpool ECHO .

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These horrific images show the injuries caused to Lauren Burrows by Hughes as he subjected her to the violent and frenzied ordeal.

In the early hours of July 27 at his home in Haydock, Hughes straddled his partner and strangled her for 20 seconds up to four separate times.

He then cornered Ms Burrows in the house attic, and after menacingly placing a foot on her neck, repeatedly pushed his hand down her throat for up to 30 seconds each time.

Every time he did this, the terrified 24-year-old victim, who has since ended their relationship, was left struggling to breathe and feared becoming unconscious.

Today, car saleswoman Ms Burrows spoke to their ECHO about her harrowing ordeal.

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And the mum-of-one, who has a six-year-old son, shared the disturbing photos of her injuries after her harrowing ordeal.

When the hooker rugby player, who played for North Wales Crusaders in Betfred League 1 at the time of the attack, appeared at the court last Thursday, he walked free.

It is understood he is no longer with the club.

Ms Burrows claimed the attack was so bad that she "could have been killed."

Speaking about her ordeal, she said: "I have not been able to sleep and wake up having flashbacks to the incident, sweating and struggling to breathe and in tears.

"These feelings don't just happen at night time, they happen at any point during the day.

"Apart from being in pain and thrown around the room, my face was a swollen and bruised mess.

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"I work as a sales executive which means dealing with people face to face, I couldn't bring myself to go into work even if I wanted to.

"My job is commission-based and I estimate I lost £3-£600."

Her Victim Impact Statement detailed how she'd suffered "problems with my throat due to the hand down my mouth."

She added: "Along with the injuries I feel this whole thing has taken my self-confidence away.

"I lay the blame for me feeling this way firmly with Kenny Hughes.

"I have only been out socialising a couple of times since, I don't trust anyone.

"I have been to counselling to help me deal with the trauma.

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"Kenny Hughes is angry, jealous and dangerous.

"He could have killed me or seriously harmed me."

The beating, which involved many punches and slaps, happened in the early hours on July 27 when the couple had been on separate nights out.

Prosecutors described how Hughes, who came through the youth system at St Helens Academy, messaged Miss Burrows at 2am, but it was not received until 4am.

The drunk rugby player demanded she get a taxi back to his house and when she arrived he was confrontational and then threw her on the bed.

Hughes repeatedly grabbed her as she kept trying to leave to protect herself.

He called her "pathetic" as he strangled and choked her, and insisted Miss Burrows should "say sorry to him," it was heard.

The abuse only ended when she managed to text her friend, sending a video clip about what had happened.

The court heard how Hughes then suddenly changed, starting to cry and telling Miss Burrows that he loved her.

He even started to hit himself in the face.

The victim sustained swelling and scratches to her neck, along with bruising to her neck and chest.

Hughes, previously of good character, was given a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

He was also handed 300 hours of community service and must undertake 15 days of rehabilitation activity.

A restraining order was also imposed and Hughes must pay £1,000 in compensation, costs of £620 and a victim surcharge of £122.

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