It was a dream wedding, a romantic ceremony, with the bride looking resplendent in white.
Yet it turned into an abject nightmare for the beautiful bride, 22-year-old Amy Dawson.
After a delightful ceremony in St. Mary’s Church in the village of West Rainton in County Durham, England, the reception for Dawson and her new husband, her long-term partner and father of her child, Gavin Golightly, in nearby Beamish Hall was full of love and laughter.
Then, at 12:55 a.m. the following morning, the newlyweds decided to retire to bed and Dawson asked Golightly to help take off her wedding dress.
Instead, he attacked her and she thought she was going to die.
“The defendant (Golightly) then tried to undo Ms. Dawson’s dress. She received a crochet (to undo the dress with), but the defendant then refused to undo his new wife’s dress,” prosecutor Sarah Traynor told Peterlee Magistrates Court, the Sunderland Echo reported.
“The defendant then jumped up from his chair, approached Ms. Dawson and pushed her over.
“He then sat on top of her and started punching her with clenched fists. He then got up and left the room. It appears that the defendant then came back to the room.”
Dawson received a cut above her left eye and bruises to her face and chest.
“When I first met Gavin, he was lovely, I couldn’t fault him,” Dawson told the Sunderland Echo.
“He was caring and loving, and when we found we were having a baby, we were delighted.
“I fell pregnant after eight months, but almost straightaway, Gavin became controlling and manipulative. It was like walking on eggshells.
“When he lashed out at me on my wedding night, I thought I was going to die. I was terrified. He looked like he was going to kill me.”
Golightly claimed his drinks must have been spiked before the assault as he could not remember the incident. However, the tattoo artist pleaded guilty to a single count of assault causing actual bodily harm.
He was given a two-year community order, and a restraining order stopping him from contacting Dawson directly or indirectly was imposed. He was also ordered to pay Dawson compensation.
Dawson, an accountancy student, has filed for divorce.
“It was such a lovely day, and I was devastated it ended the way it did,” she told the Sunderland Echo.
“It was a huge celebration full of friends and family, and I thought it would have been the fresh start we needed.
“The community order was far too soft. The restraining order is the only thing keeping me strong.