Woman vicar ‘punched and bit her female partner in drunken lovers’ spat’

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A female vicar punched and bit her fiancée in a drunken lovers spat during lockdown after necking glasses of wine, a court heard.

Michelle Bailey, 54, has gone on trial accused of attacked her then-partner Diane Shaw, 56, at the victim’s home in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, on May 23, 2020.

A court heard Rev Bailey had been staying with Miss Shaw during the coronavirus lockdown but their ten-month relationship had ‘turned sour’.

Miss Shaw said that after going shopping Rev Bailey became ‘agitated’ when they returned home and shared a bottle of wine over dinner.

She then began pacing the bungalow the pair had just moved into before launching an attack which ‘inflicted awful violence’, the court heard.

Miss Shaw was punched three times before being bitten on the wrist and also had her glasses broken during the alleged assault.

She was left with two black eyes, a split nose, her ear detached from her head, bite marks and bruises to her torso.

Rev Bailey has been suspended from her £40,000-a-year job as Priest in Charge of The Benefice of Dan Yr Epynt in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon since the incident.

Woman vicar ‘punched and bit her female partner in drunken lovers’ spat’

Reverend Michelle Bailey, 54, has gone on trial accused of attacked her then-partner Diane Shaw, 56

The mother-of-three previously hit the headlines in her former parish in Stewkley, Buckinghamshire, after leaving her husband for a female bull-breeder.

In a blistering sermon she likened her parishioners to a ‘nest of vipers’ and accused them of breaking up her marriage with ‘poisonous’ gossip.

Miss Shaw told North Staffordshire Justice Centre she felt ‘scared’ as she was bitten as she feared Rev Bailey had taken the skin tissue away from her arm.

Prosecutor Simon Dyke said: ‘It’s a straightforward allegation that took place at the victim’s address. Michelle had been residing at that address during lockdown.

‘The couple had been in an intimate relationship for some time but things eventually turned sour.

‘The couple went shopping, had dinner and consumed some wine and Miss Bailey was affected by what she had to drink and became somewhat argumentative.

‘She was confronted by Miss Shaw. Miss Bailey inflicted blows upon Miss Shaw, slaps and punches.

‘The disagreement spilled into the front garden of the property and it was believed a car was going to be damaged.

‘The glasses were removed from Miss Shaw’s face and broken quite deliberately.

‘The incident carried on inside the property where there were further blows towards Miss Shaw.

‘Miss Bailey inflicted awful violence

‘Miss Shaw was caused to act in self-defence at her own property.’

Giving evidence, Miss Shaw told the court the pair were engaged to be married but were in an ‘unhappy’ and ’emotional’ relationship.

Recalling the alleged assault, she said: ‘She couldn’t face lockdown on her own. I was about to move house, but the country went in lockdown.

‘It was very emotional relationship. Not a happy one.

Rev Bailey has been suspended from her £40,000-a-year job as Priest in Charge of The Benefice of Dan Yr Epynt in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon since the incident

Rev Bailey has been suspended from her £40,000-a-year job as Priest in Charge of The Benefice of Dan Yr Epynt in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon since the incident

Rev Bailey has been suspended from her £40,000-a-year job as Priest in Charge of The Benefice of Dan Yr Epynt in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon since the incident

‘We went shopping in the afternoon and there were great long queues.

‘Michelle said she wanted to go to Sainsburys. She was in there over an hour. We went home and I cooked dinner.

‘We shared one bottle between us, two glasses each.

‘Michelle seemed agitated because the dogs wanted to go for a walk. There was mess on the beige carpets.

‘I said ‘you go to bed and I’ll sort the dogs out’. It was very hot.

‘Michelle was walking around the property, kicking doors open and switching lights on.

‘We were watching something on TV and she said ‘tell me how to sign I love you’.

‘Her mood was OK at that point. I have absolutely no idea how it escalated.

‘The defendant has mood swings where she becomes very emotional.

‘I asked her what she was going on, I tried to calm her down.

‘We were in the hallway, she was in her pyjamas and I put my arms out to stop her walking past

‘She grabbed my left arm and bit my left forearm. It scared me, the force of the bite. I thought she was going to pull away with tissue.

‘I was scared she was going to pull away with flesh.’

Miss Shaw said Rev Bailey then stormed into the bedroom and began picking up gifts she had been bought and packing them into the car.

She added: ‘She said before the move she wanted a new car and a private plate.

‘To celebrate the move I bought her a private plate. She was looking for the documentation.

‘She was picking gifts up that I bought her that she didn’t want.

‘She took quite a bit of my own property as well and packed it into the car.

‘I asked her ‘what on earth is going on? you can’t drive like this’.

‘Because we were in lockdown and she’d had a drink. She was very aggressive and very angry.

‘She gets very emotional, very angry, very verbal. I tried my best to calm her down.

‘She went from being angry to rageful, I could see this look come over her face. She went over to my car and keyed the bonnet of my car.

‘She punched me a few times in the hallway. Full blows hit my face.

‘I went over to her and she was lying over the bonnet of my Audi TT

‘I grabbed her hair back to pull her off of my car. She tripped on a split and fell over on the tarmac.

‘She pulled my glasses off. I picked my frame up. She got in front of me and that’s when she really laid into me.

‘I was punched in the face numerous times, forcefully, between four and six times.

‘I tried to stop her but I couldn’t any longer. I can’t really remember what happened next.

‘I can’t remember if I was lying on the floor or if I was stood up and looking at her.

‘She left. She ripped my charger from the wall and chucked my phone under the settee. Without my glasses I couldn’t see to call the police.

‘I got two black eyes, split nose. My right ear had became detached from my head, bite marks too and bruises to my torso.

‘Every day since the incident I have headaches, I have never had headaches before.

‘I have a weakened spine anyway. It has taken damage in my neck from mild to moderate. I needed 22 months of counselling.

‘Something just triggered her.’ 

Rev Bailey denies assault by beating and causing criminal damage.

The trial continues.

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