The grieving family of a mother-of-two who killed herself rather than face her abusive ex-lover in court have released shocking photographs of her injuries.
Gemma Robinson, 34, was found hanged at her home in Dartford, Kent in July last year while her ex-boyfriend Joseph Falconer, 33, was trying to be released on bail.
Falconer was jailed for three years and four months at Maidstone Crown Court earlier this month following an attack on Ms Robinson in November 2019, which was described by a judge as a ‘gratuitous and violent assault’.
Ms Robinson’s sister Kirsty, 33, has now released shocking images of the injuries suffered by her sister in a bid to raise awareness of domestic violence.
She also plans to launch a formal appeal against Falconer’s sentence this week.
Pictured: Gemma Robinson after suffering an assault at the hands of her ex-boyfriend Joseph Falconer, 33, in November 2019
Falconer, who a judge labelled ‘dangerous, jealous and controlling’, held Miss Robinson’s neck as he repeatedly punched her in the face during the assault.
The judge said Falconer ‘ended the gratuitous and violent assault with the indignity of spitting on her,’ and blamed his victim for ‘provoking’ him.
The man, who has six previous convictions for eight offences, also cleared out Miss Robinson’s bank account and smashed up her television.
Falconer, who had been subject to a restraining order at the time, denied inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent.
But a month after Ms Robinson’s death he pleaded guilty to the less serious offence of inflicting grievous bodily harm and one of criminal damage.
Speaking about the attack, her sister Kirsty said: ‘I saw her face at the hospital and I felt absolutely horrified. The tooth went through her lip. There was a massive gash.
Falconer was jailed for three years and four months at Maidstone Crown Court
Ms Robinson (left) was found hanged at her home in Dartford, Kent in July last year because she was ‘petrified’ at having to face her abusive partner Falconer (right) in court
‘She phoned me and was saying that she had been beaten up. I could tell she had damaged lips because of the way she was speaking.
‘Dad couldn’t face seeing her. He saw the image by text instead and he cried like a baby. It was very hard for him because it is his little girl.’
Ms Robinson suffered a fractured eye socket and cuts and bruising to her head, face, arms, neck and chest.
Her sister added: ‘Not only did he injure her face, he injured her mind. She said she was having nightmares and would visualise that he was punching her in the face.
‘She was petrified that he was going to come out on bail and was even thinking of buying a protective dog. She was terrified of going out in public and was not herself.
‘She had days where she tried to be strong but inside she was really damaged.’
Ahead of the family submitting an appeal against Falconer’s sentence, Ms Robinson set up a petition which gained more than 7,000 signatures in two weeks.
She said: ‘I’m so disgusted by this sentence. In my mind I imagined 10 plus because of what he did and the fact she took her life.
Ms Robinson suffered a fractured eye socket and cuts and bruising to her head, face, arms, neck and chest. Pictured: Ms Robinson
Pictured: The scene in the bathroom of Ms Robinson’s home following the assault
‘He was very controlling. She went to a sun bed shop and he wanted to smell her to see that she had been there and not seeing other men.
‘And he was messaging her guy friends telling them to stay away. My sister was very confident and outgoing. She lost all confidence.’
The court heard that the couple had been in a relationship since 2015.
In December 2018, Falconer assaulted fitness instructor Miss Robinson which led to a conviction for battery and criminal damage, as well as a restraining order being imposed.
But within three months of that court appearance, he contacted her to apologise while threatening to harm himself.
He turned up at her home and claimed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. By October 2019 Miss Robinson took pity on him and agreed he could stay on her sofa.
Ms Robinson (right) with her sister Kirsty Robinson (left)
Prosecutor Vivian Walters said: ‘He paid no rent and she bought and provided all his food.
‘His behaviour became increasingly controlling and he started to question her about where she was going and who she was going to see.’
After a night out in November 2019 Falconer, who according to his Facebook page served with the Parachute Regiment for three years, phoned and texted her 70 times, accusing her of being with another man.
The prosecutor said: ‘He dragged her into the bathroom and pushed her into the shower cubicle.
‘He grabbed her under her jawline and was pushing into her neck making it difficult for her to breathe.
‘She thought she would die… He let go of her neck and punched her repeatedly in the face.
‘She was unsure how many times she was struck but he was saying ‘Yeah’ repeatedly in a belittling manner while punching her. The defendant then spat at her and left.’
When arrested, Falconer’s knuckles and Miss Robinson’s injuries were ‘inconsistent’ with his claim he only punched Miss Robinson twice, causing her to fall and hit her head on the toilet and pass out.
Falconer – who was 6ft and weighed around 14 stone, tried to blame Miss Robinson, who was 5ft 2in and weighed 8 stone – for the assault by claiming he had reacted to a ‘provocative’ remark she made.
- For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details.