THE mother of a girl who was hit in the face with a belt by a stranger says the attacker did not receive a stiff enough sentence.
Gurpreet Gulati was jailed for a year at Oxford Crown Court after admitting hitting two girls, then aged 14 and 15, in Mill Meadows, Henley, in April last year. He is likely to be released about halfway through his sentence.
The woman’s daughter was left with a scar behind her right ear and her daughter’s friend has been prescribed daily beta blockers for migraines.
The woman, who lives in Henley, said: “I am absolutely gutted and feel physically sick at the lightness of the sentence. I thought that finally we were going to have closure but now I think was it all worth it? We have gone through all this, just for him to more or less get a smack on the wrist. It is just wrong.”
The court heard how Gulati removed his belt after an argument broke out between his friends and a group of teenagers who were having a picnic in the park. He chased after a teenage boy before hitting the two girls in the face.
Recorder Julian Knowles said the attack was “absolutely disgusting” but Gulati deserved credit for pleading guilty and preventing his young victims from having to give evidence in court.
Gulati was serving a suspended prison sentence for an attack on a woman in 2010 and had also been convicted of assaulting a woman in 2007.
The woman said: “It is appalling that he can attack two girls senseless and be out in six months. My daughter couldn’t believe it after all she’s been through. He’s done this before — it is the second time with a weapon — and he will do it again.”
The woman says she remembers leaving work and running to Mill Meadows after her husband called to tell her to say their daughter had been attacked.
“I saw two of my friends’ daughters half carrying her, half dragging her,” she said. “She was semi-conscious and I was absolutely terrified. She didn’t know who I was or what was happening. It was a nightmare.”
The woman says she managed to stay calm until the police came to take a statement from her daughter. “It really got to me then,” she said. “I just broke down in tears.”
The woman says her whole family has been affected by the attack, including her husband who had to take time off work due to depression.
Her daughter has recovered well despite being self-conscious about her scar and having to wearing her hair in a certain way to ensure that it is covered. “She has settled into college and has a lovely boyfriend and good friends,” she said.