Corby abuser threw boiling oil at husband before laughing at him

She's been jailed after the horrific incident

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 7:00 am
Roxanna De Gravell.

A woman threw a pan of boiling oil at her terrified husband at their Corby home - before laughing at him and telling him he had asked for it as he screamed in pain.

Roxanna De Gravell attacked her victim despite him begging her to calm down after he hid in a bathroom, leaving him with burns to his neck and hand.

It came just five months after the domestic abuser had smacked him over the head with a prosecco bottle, knocking him to the ground.

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Yesterday (Wednesday) at Northampton Crown Court she wept uncontrollably as she was jailed for a total of four years for assault causing actual bodily harm.

Recorder Michael Auty QC told the 42-year-old: "It's both a miracle and a mercy that he was not more severely injured. Boiling oil, in my judgement, is every bit as damaging a substance as acid.

"What you did could have killed him or at the very least left him with life-altering injuries.

"And your reaction to what you did was to laugh at him and tell him that he asked for it. He did not ask you for it. He begged you not to do it."

The court heard De Gravell, who communicated through a Spanish interpreter, had been in a relationship with her victim since 2008.

On December 30 last year she told her husband he couldn't have the keys to go outside for a smoke until he had finished chopping food. After preparing the food he asked for the key again, only for De Gravell to become angry and jab him in the face with it before hitting him.

Her husband ran to the bathroom and locked himself inside but, when he emerged, De Gravell was waiting with a pan of hot oil.

She threatened to throw it over him and he went back to the bathroom.

Prosecutor Henry Gordon said: "He told her to calm down and, emerging a while later, De Gravell proceeded to throw the pan of hot oil over him.

"The hot oil made contact and scalded his hand, neck and ear."

The victim screamed and ran water over his skin in a desperate attempt to ease the agony.

But De Gravell, of Penrhyn Close in Corby, was not sympathetic.

Mr Gordon said: "De Gravell responded by laughing at him and saying 'you asked for it'."

Her husband went outside and used a hosepipe to run water over himself. He was in so much pain he couldn't sleep and needed painkillers.

But when he finally nodded off De Gravell woke him up, demanding that he went downstairs to turn off the TV and get her some water.

The following day he went to Kettering General Hospital to be treated for burns on the side of his face, neck, ear and hand and bruising and scratching beneath his eye.

There, he disclosed a history of domestic abuse to the nurse who treated him, who went on to make a safeguarding referral.

Police later visited his home and he told them what had happened, as well as telling officers how in July his wife had struck him on the head with a prosecco bottle in a fury.

De Gravell, who appeared at court over videolink from HMP Peterborough, was arrested on New Year's Eve but initially denied causing the injuries.

Mr Gordon said: "She admitted having an argument with him the previous evening but could not remember any assault with a key, nor with hot oil.

"She did not know how he had sustained his injuries."

De Gravell, who had previously been cautioned twice for assaulting a former partner, later admitted both assaults before a judge.

In a victim statement read out in court, her husband said he had found it hard to acknowledge what had happened to him, "making it harder for him to speak out each time, giving her one more chance".

He said he had lost confidence and self-esteem and still felt a sense of love for his wife.

Mr Gordon said: "He says she needs to understand her actions and take responsibility for them."

Mitigating, Liam Muir said De Gravell had previously been self-medicating with alcohol and had made an effort to deal with her issues before she went to custody.

He said: "This offence has been an eye-opener for her.

"She has finally realised her demons and is trying to deal with them."

Recorder Auty QC told the domestic abuser that she would serve half of her four-year prison sentence in custody before being released on licence.

He said: "I have no alternative but to sentence you to a term of imprisonment.

"It gives me no pleasure to have to pass that sentence, but I have a public duty."

De Gravell was also handed a restraining order banning her from contacting her husband.

■ If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or know someone who is and there's an emergency that's ongoing or life is in danger, call 999 now. For help and advice go to https://www.northants.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/daa/domestic-abuse/ or to access a perpetrator programme, contact Respect – the national association for domestic violence perpetrator programmes and associated support services. In non-emergency cases and for general advice, please call 101. You can also call the national 24-hour domestic abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247 or click the following links for guidance and advice:

www.voicenorthants.org - Tel: 0300 303 1965

Email [email protected] - Tel: 01604 888211

www.ndas.co - Tel: 0300 012 0154