Torture victim ordered to write letters to attacker or face jail

Mother forced to send updates and photographs to imprisoned ex partner under custody laws

(Image credit: 2003 Getty Images)

A mother who was tortured and almost killed by her ex partner has been ordered to send him regular letters and photographs of their children under parental rights laws.

Natalie Allman, 29, from Herefordshire, was attacked in front of her two young children in 2011 by former Territorial Army soldier Jason Hughes, 42.

In an ordeal that lasted over seven hours, Hughes attempted to smother her to death with a pillow and bludgeoned her repeatedly with dumbbells. He also slashed her throat in a 20cm-long cut, narrowly missing her major artery, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

"His intention was to cause a hideous scar she could not hide if she had dressed up to look pretty," the former soldier’s lawyer said during his trial. "He was trying to make her look ugly to other men."

Hughes was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2012 after he was found guilty of malicious wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. However, last year a judge granted him a residence and contact order.

The order requires Allman to send updates on their five-year-old twins at least three times a year, including photographs and details of their education, health and emotional development. If she fails to do so, she could face charges of contempt of court, resulting in a fine or even imprisonment.

"I'm so angry that the law still defends his parental rights and that he is still being allowed to control us from behind bars," she told the Sunday People.

"I feel betrayed that after everything he did his rights mean more than mine – more than my children's," she said. "We are the victims, not him. I thought he was going to kill me that night for no reason and my boys saw that. They were terrified."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.