View Full Version : Assault victim feared for life

25-Aug-16, 15:02
Wife alleges catalogue of abuse by husband

A WOMAN described to a jury yesterday the catalogue of physical and mental abuse inflicted on her by her husband at their cottage in the Highlands and said she feared for her life.

Marie Islam, 47, claimed that she was regularly assaulted by Konstanty Bembnista whom she described as "violent, volatile and brutal".

She also told the court at Wick on the second day of the trial, of the veiled threat made by him more than once, and said: "He remarked to me that you could kill someone up here and no-one would bother you about it."

Mrs Islam told of one incident in which Glasgow-born .Bembnista hit her over her head with a heavy cigarette box and dragged her across the living room floor of their home at Abbotswood Cottage in the Caithness village of Lybster. they made their new home after moving north from the Central Belt.

Their two dogs were hysterical and began biting her legs which became covered in blood. When she insisted on going to the local doctor to get tetanus jag, her husband made her lie and say she had been attacked by a stray dog.

Bembnista, 68, pleads not guilty on indictment to two charges of assault, a breach of the peace and one of stalking Mrs Islam, in Edinburgh. The incidents are alleged to have occurred at Abbotswood Cottage and in Edinburgh between June 1991 and July 2013.

Giving evidence over a video link from Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Mrs Islam outlined the frequent assaults and said that her husband punched and kicked her, grabbed her by the throat, spat on her, threw drinks over her -sometimes along with the glass - and pushed her out of his car or dragged her from it. On some occasions he would only stop beating her because he became exhausted.

Mrs Islam said she sometimes ran to her bedroom and barracaded the door with furniture and added that her husband would appear, outside, at the window laughing at her.

She said that she felt isolated and had no life of her own as Bembnista, a former soldier, discouraged visitors and controlled her and continued: "It was not a romantic relationship. I was in his army, someone to be in charge of like a junior soldier. He was in charge of. He had a huge chip on his shoulder about not having done well in the army."

Mrs Islam said that Bembnista, now living in the hamlet of Thrumster, a few miles further north on the A99, was prone to making provocative and 'disgusting' comments about her parents to try to get her angry and when she spoke back, he would throw something at her, whatever was nearest to him and always "had a look of satisfaction on his face".

She said: " He liked degrading me... dragging me right down. I felt broken and not a human being."
Mrs Islam recalled an occasional remark she claimed he made when they were out in his car to the effect that if you got rid of someone in this part of the world no-one would bother you about it.

Asked by fiscal Andrew Laing, how such statements made her feel, Mrs Islam replied; "I was always fearful. I feared he would one day do more that just hit me."

She said that escaping from him wasn't possible, as he was always with her and when he went out, he would lock all the doors and windows leaving her alone.

Mr Laing drew Mrs Islam's attention to a special defence entered by Bembnista suggesting that she had assaulted him. She said retaliation was impossible given the signifcant difference in their physique. He was over 6ft in height and weighed 20 sts and she was much smaller and slightly built.

However, Mrs Islam admitted that she often harbored the thought she would like to have liked to have seen the accused, get, in effect, a taste of his own medicine.

Bembmista has been given special permission to have his Jack Russell dug, Rambo, with him in the dock. He is described as profoundly deaf and special arrangements have been made to have the evidence keyed onto a computer screen to enable him to follow the proceedings.