The abusive former boyfriend of a woman left with life-changing injuries in a fall from a van has had his sentence for kidnapping her increased.
Angel Lynn was bundled into the van by Chay Bowskill before she was found injured on the A6 near Loughborough, Leicestershire, in 2020.
Bowskill’s sentence of seven and a half years in a young offender institution has been increased to 12 years.
His sentence was reviewed following concerns it was too lenient.
Rocco Sansome, who was driving the van, had previously been sentenced to 21 months in a young offender institution and his sentence remains unchanged.
‘Culmination of abuse’
The Court of Appeal judges decided Bowskill’s original sentence had “failed to reflect the seriousness” of the kidnap offence, and too much of a discount had been given to the sentence because of his age.
“Miss Lynn is likely to be severely disabled, mentally and physically, for the rest of her life, and will be dependent on others for all aspects of her care,” Dame Victoria Sharp, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, said.
She added the kidnap had been the “culmination of a pattern of abuse at the hands of Bowskill”.
Speaking following the ruling, Angel Lynn’s aunt Jackie Chamberlain said the family had got “exactly what we wanted”.
“We’re absolutely elated at the result and we want to thank everybody involved, from the police to the judges today, the lady judge in charge, she’s amazing. We really felt she got us as a family,” she told BBC Radio Leicester’s Ady Dayman.
“We can rest in the fact and know he [Bowskill] will not be anywhere near us for a very long time.
“We want to thank every person that complained about the sentence being unduly lenient.
“It gladdens your heart, it’s amazing.”
She said the family could now “move on” and concentrate on bringing Angel home.
“We don’t want to think about those people anymore,” she said.
“We’ve given them two years nearly of our lives and we don’t want to give them any more thoughts whatsoever.”
Bowskill was previously sentenced to three years and three months for kidnap, two years for coercive and controlling behaviour, and two years and three months for perverting the course of justice – after he put pressure on his mother to withdraw her police statement.
These sentences were consecutive, meaning they were all added up to a total of seven and a half years.
The judges have now changed his sentence for kidnap to 12 years, but the sentences for the other charges are concurrent, meaning they all run at the same time.
Dame Sharp told Bowskill he must serve two-thirds of the sentence before he is eligible to be released.
The judges said they did not change Sansome’s sentence for kidnap because “his role was a subsidiary one”, he was remorseful, and there were no aggravating features of domestic abuse against Miss Lynn in relation to him.
The original trial at Leicester Crown Court heard Bowskill, of Empingham Drive, Syston, kidnapped Miss Lynn following an argument on 17 September 2020.
CCTV footage showed him lifting her up and carrying her across a road before putting her in the van.
Both were 19 at the time and had been in a relationship for about a year.
Judge Timothy Spencer QC described Bowskill’s treatment of Miss Lynn during their relationship as “vile” and added: “She was belittled by you to a point she must have felt on a regular basis, worthless.
“You bombarded her with repulsive, degrading messages, sometimes within a timespan of a few hours.
“You controlled her freedom of movement by a variety of means and she was not allowed any sort of life apart from you.”
Court decision welcomed
It is still not clear whether Miss Lynn fell from the van accidentally, or whether she was trying to get away from Bowskill.
However, the jury did not think Bowskill had deliberately pushed her, and he was therefore found not guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and an alternative charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
The case was referred to the Court of Appeal by Solicitor General Alex Chalk QC MP.
“Angel Lynn was subjected to prolonged abuse by her partner, Chay Bowskill, which culminated in her suffering devastating and life-changing injuries,” he said after the sentence was increased.
“No sentence can repair the damage caused by the cowardly actions of Bowskill, but I welcome the decision of the court to increase the punishment for his crimes.”
Miss Lynn’s family also thanked Women’s Aid for their support in the appeal.
Farah Nazeer, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said she welcomed the increased sentence.
“Lenient sentences in domestic abuse cases send a dangerous message – both to perpetrators and survivors of domestic abuse – about how seriously we treat violence against women in this country,” she said.
“It is clear that better understanding of domestic abuse and coercive control will bring about improved sentencing in the future, which will ultimately lead to keeping more women safe.
“To prioritise the safety of women and girls, judges must send out a clear message that domestic abuse will not be tolerated.”