Nasty drunk jailed for hot pan attack

Stuart Brench pic
Stuart Brench pic

EASTBOURNE hairdresser and mother Georgina Hall was preparing to spend the rest of her life with fiancé Stuart Brench.

But their relationship came to a violent end when he held a burning hot frying pan to her face.

He is now beginning a 32-month prison term after being sentenced on Wednesday – but she will carry the scars of his abuse for years to come.

Brench, of Wakehurst Place, originally denied the attack, and used Facebook to label her “scarface”.

George – as she likes to be known – said, “I’m glad I’ve seen it through, to show other people you can do it.

“If I can, anyone can.

“I wish I had had the balls to leave him before and not take him back.

“Like any woman who is in the same position, though, it is not that easy to walk away.”

The 43-year-old has been told scars on her cheek and chin could take seven years to fade.

She said, “I have got that as a reminder every day. I am quite a strong person but it really knocked the stuffing out of me. I was sitting on the other side of the bus so nobody could see me.”

George and Brench got together in September 2010 and he moved in with her four weeks later.

That December he struck her for the first time, headbutting her during an argument.

George did not report it to the police. The next day, Brench said sorry.

She said, “He was very apologetic. He said, ‘I don’t know what happened.’”

Slowly she became aware that alcohol released a dark side to his character.

She said, “I knew he was a little bit of a drinker. I didn’t think to the point he would do something like that.

“He’s like Jekyll and Hyde. When he’s sober, everyone loves Stuart. But he is a nasty drunk.”

At the time she did not know he had a criminal record.

In 2008 the Network Rail worker was given a 26-week suspended sentence for harassing his ex-partner and their children.

They said they were left fearful of leaving their home after his text threats. He had previous convictions for assaults in 1998 and 1988.

George eventually called police for the first time after he became aggressive at her home.

In June that year, he punched her repeatedly after she asked him to sleep downstairs one night.

They split up because of the violence, but George took Brench back that September.

She said, “He was lovely for the first couple of months.”

But on November 16, after an evening in the pub, he flew into a jealous rage about a man to whom George owed money.

The row continued while he fried bacon in the kitchen of the house in Norway Road. George grabbed the pan and threw the bacon over her shoulder.

She said, “He came across the kitchen at me with the barbecue tongs. He rammed them in my face.

“My head was against the cupboard. I slapped him to get him off me.

“He said, ‘See how you like this.’ He pushed the hot frying pan into my face and held it there.”

George was left with burns on her face and chin. She also suffered scratches from the tongs.

George has been told the scar could remain for as long as seven years. Being marked has shattered her confidence and left her needing anti-depressants.

Brench originally denied the charge of assault causing actual bodily harm.

In March he left a post on his Facebook page apparently describing George as “scare face” – which prosecutors interpreted as an attempt to spell “scarface”.

He wrote, “I can’t wait for court. Bring it on.”

George said, “I couldn’t believe he could call me that. He was obviously not remorseful.

“I’m glad I didn’t drop it, and thankfully I had good friends around to support me.”

But when he got to Hove Crown Court for his trial on May 23, George was there and prepared to give evidence.

She had printed off the Facebook message and handed it to the police. He changed his plea to guilty.

When he appeared at Brighton Crown Court, Judge Paul Tain told him, “This lady will have this scar for some very long period of time indeed.

“I regard the manner of the delivery of the injury as a wicked act by a man who was used in the past to acting violently towards other people and in particularly acting inappropriately in the context of domestic relationships.”

The judge also imposed a restraining order forbidding Brench from contacting George “directly or indirectly”.

Brench’s mother wept as he was led from the dock.

Pictures: The jailed Brench and a scarred George