A former welder with a paralysed arm was cleared of breaking a woman’s skull with a dumbbell.

Peter Hunter, 54, was found not guilty of wounding with intent by jurors at Oxford Crown Court. But having already pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of causing grievous bodily harm was jailed for two years on Thursday.

The Banbury man, whose arm was paralysed in a motorcycle accident, accepted injuring his victim – but claimed he’d slammed her against a wall and punched her in an argument over cash he claimed she’d stolen from his wallet.

He told police in the wake of the attack at his flat in Boxhedge Road, Banbury: “I didn’t bash her with my dumbbells, I bashed her with my Daisy Dukes [rhyming slang that Hunter, incorrectly, claimed meant fists].”

Jailing him for two years, Recorder John Bate-Williams said: “I don’t need to decide conclusively whether your victim had stolen from you on previous occasions.

“Nothing of that nature justifies a violent attack on another person, let alone a woman. You should have been able to take a sensible decision by choosing either to have nothing more to do with this woman or report the alleged thefts to the police.

“Instead, your attack was sudden, swift and violent. She was quite unprepared for your assault and you caused her really serious injuries.”

During the two day trial, jurors heard that the victim was left with fractures to her skull, rib and thumb. The broken skull and rib did not require surgery and she was yet to have an operation to her thumb when she wrote a statement in early 2021.

Hunter claimed he’d let the woman into his Banbury flat at around 2.30pm on April 22, 2020 then gone to the toilet, which he identified using the rhyming slang term ‘Gary Glitter’.


Peter Hunters police mugshot Picture: TVP

Peter Hunter's police mugshot Picture: TVP


He said he’d returned from the lavatory to find £170 missing from his wallet. He challenged the woman, who he claimed had stolen money from him previously, and struggled over the bag.

He slammed her into the wall, punched her a couple of times and kicked her before she regained consciousness.

Timings on CCTV covering the front door of his ground floor flat showed the whole interaction had lasted around two minutes.

Put in the stand, Hunter was quizzed by his barrister: “Did you intent to cause her really grievous bodily harm?"

The defendant replied: “I didn’t think and when it hit – this is the truth of it – I thought ‘s**t’, that’s what I thought, ‘whoops, that was too hard’.”

Prosecutors claimed Hunter struck his female victim with a dumbbell, of which there were a number scattered around the flat. The victim told jurors she’d regained consciousness to find Hunter standing over her with a weight in his hand.


One of the dumbbells (3kg) recovered from Peter Hunters flat by police Picture: CPS

One of the dumbbells (3kg) recovered from Peter Hunter's flat by police Picture: CPS


He denied using a weapon to hit her or planning the attack to ‘teach her a lesson’ about stealing from him. He told prosecutor Jonathan Stone: “If anyone got hit with a weight that big I don’t think they’d be waking up and that wasn’t my intention.” It was ‘ridiculous’ to suggest he had ‘bashed her around with a weight’, he added.

The jury was shown a video clip of Hunter disposing of an item in a neighbour’s bin minutes after the assault. The defendant denied disposing of evidence. He said the item placed in the waste bin could have been an old tracksuit and that occupants of the flats often used each other’s wheelie bins when their own was full.

Two dumbbells found in the flat – weighing 3kg and 4.5kg – were shown to the jury, although it was not suggested they were the ones allegedly used against the woman. A smaller, green-coloured weight, seen in Hunter’s hand when he opened the door to let his victim out of the block of flats, could not be found when police searched the apartment.


Peter Hunter throws down a small dumbbell, which was not recovered, after the assault in April 2020 Picture: CPS

Peter Hunter throws down a small dumbbell, which was not recovered, after the assault in April 2020 Picture: CPS


At the conclusion of the case, the court heard Hunter, of Boxhedge Road, Banbury, had 29 convictions for 114 offences. In an impact statement, his victim said: “I shouldn’t have to live in fear in my own home and the home town of my kids.”

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