A tragic 20 year old has taken her own life after being viciously beaten by neighbours, who bashed her with a metal dog lead before pouring vinegar on her injuries. Leah Ratheram was assaulted in her own home, along with a friend, who was left with permanent disabilities when he was thrown from a three storey balcony.
The woman was found to have hanged herself in her home a few months after the brutal assault, and a judge says that the attack would have influenced her decision to commit suicide.
Neighbour Lucy Regan, who lived in the same tower block of Birmingham appartments, and her partner Omaiji Christie have now been jailed. Christie, 27, from Handsworth Wood, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent, and has been handed an 11 year prison term. Meanwhile, Regan has been jailed for two and a half years after she pleaded guilty to wounding.
The court heard that Miss Ratheram was assaulted last February following an incident in which she is said to have taunted Regan as she walked past her flat. Regan and Christie then forced their way inside the flat as a pizza delivery driver knocked at the door.
Miss Ratheram’s friend Paul James-Lyons fell from a third floor balcony when he was attacked by Christie, suffering a dislocated hip and fractured wrist, which the court was told were “permanent and serious” disabilities. Mr James-Lyons was hanging from the edge of the balcony when Christie attacked him, causing him to lose his grip and fall.
Following the sentencing, many people commenting on social media said that the jail time was not enough. One person wrote that they should lock them both up for life and throw away the key. Another questioned why Christie was not charged with attempted murder, given that his actions led to a man losing his grip from the third floor.