Pregnancy should be a time for happiness, but yesterday two stories about pregnant women were in the news here that were tinged with both sadness and revulsion.
At Newport Crown Court, Carl Whant
described as a former night club bouncer was sentenced to life imprisonment with a tariff of 35 years for the murder of 19 year old Nikitta Grender. This was one of those crimes that beggars belief. In February last year, Whant was out drinking with his younger cousin, Ryan Mayes, the father of Nikitta's unborn daughter. Excusing himself, he drove to their home where he raped and murdered the pregnant teenager, slashing her throat and stabbing her in the abdomen. Then, in an apparent attempt to destroy forensic evidence, he set fire to the place. Fortunately, this failed, and his semen was found in her body as well as her blood in his car. She appears to have fought desperately but in vain against a much bigger, determined and ruthless attacker.
At his trial, Whant denied the murder, and attempted to explain away the forensic evidence by claiming the two had had consensual sex the previous day with his cousin's approval. Fortunately, the jury did not believe him.
He was also charged with child destruction, a crime that apparently only men can commit, its being known otherwise as a woman's right to choose. Whant is said to be 27 now, he was 26 at the time of the double killing. Hopefully, he will not be back on the streets again until he is too feeble to overpower a pregnant teenager and too senile to remember why he once did.
In the capital more recently, a crime that although less shocking could have been just as horrific was revealed when three men, apparently youths, attacked a visibly pregnant 36 year old woman. This was said to have happened Monday evening but details appear to have been released
The attack appears to have been both totally random and pointless, and is all the more horrifying in that there were three attackers rather than one. The assailants are said to be black males aged between 15 and 20. After grabbing the victim from behind they began slashing at her stomach with a knife, but fortunately she screamed - some victims freeze - and they let her go and casually sauntered off. Although only one of the youths is said to have used the knife, the police have not unreasonably expressed a desire to speak with all three.
Attacks on pregnant women are fortunately rare, and until the murder of Nikitta Grender, the most infamous such murder in Britain was that of Marie Wilks
. Mrs Wilks was seven months pregnant with her second child when she was stabbed to death on the M50 motorway in 1988. Former soldier Eddie Browning was convicted of her murder, but his conviction was quashed on appeal, not on a technicality, there was never any meaningful evidence that he was responsible. The murder of Marie Wilks remains unsolved to this day. The one crumb of comfort the family of Nikitta Grender have is that her murder was solved, and her killer is behind bars where he belongs.