Court of Appeal upholds two-year jail sentence for Duke of Beaufort's son Lord Somerset

Gazette Series: Lord Edward Somerset, leaving court at an earlier hearing Lord Edward Somerset, leaving court at an earlier hearing

A TWO-year jail term handed down to the son of the Duke of Beaufort earlier this year for repeatedly beating his wife has been upheld.

Lord Edward Somerset, 55, was imprisoned in February after admitting four counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm during a previous appearance at Bristol Crown Court in December 2012.

The court had heard how Somerset, of Essex House, Badminton, had caused his wife Lady Caroline injuries which required hospital treatment in a series of assaults stemming 22 years from 1990.

Lady Caroline was said to have suffered in silence for years and it took a phone call from concerned medical staff following the most recent incident for the abuse to finally be brought to the attention of the police.

His legal team challenged the length of his sentence arguing Lord Somerset, described as a ‘lifelong user’ of cocaine and heroin, was of previously good character who had pleaded guilty.

But Lady Justice Rafferty, sitting in the Court of Appeal, said he had subjected his wife of more than 30 years to ‘repeated domestic violence’.

Dismissing the appeal, she acknowledged that the injuries caused to Lady Caroline were ‘far from the most serious to come before the courts’ but the two-year jail sentence was ‘more than justified’.

After sentencing in February, CPS Senior Crown Prosecutor Rob Allen said: “This case is a reminder that domestic violence permeates all sections of our society. It also highlights the devastating consequences that this type of abuse has on victims and their families.

“Despite record conviction rates more than one woman per week is killed by a current or former male partner. The Crown Prosecution Service is firmly committed to the task of bringing more abusers to justice and increasing the safety of victims.”

He added: “Thousands of women and a considerable number of men in our country remain trapped in an abusive relationship. I hope Lady Caroline’s example will provide encouragement to those victims to come forward and break the cycle of violence.

“This case illustrates that it doesn’t matter who you are or how long ago the offences took place, the CPS will always seek to prosecute where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so.”

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