Questions for judge over failure to treat Eddie Kidd attack by wife as hate crime


theweeksubA judge failed to treat a series of assaults on former motorcycle stuntman Eddie Kidd by his wife as disability hate crime, even though she called him a “fucking spastic” during one of the attacks.

Samantha Kidd was jailed for five months last week after admitting four counts of assaulting her husband.

But it is the latest in a string of cases in which the criminal justice system has ignored what seemed to be clear examples of disability hate crime.

Sussex police treated the crimes as both domestic violence and hate crime from the beginning of their investigation, while the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) also argued that the language used by Samantha Kidd made the case a disability hate crime.

But despite Kidd calling her husband a “fucking spastic” as she assaulted him, Judge William Ashworth made it clear that he was sentencing her on the basis of domestic violence against a “vulnerable” person, and not for a disability hate crime.

Crimes which are dealt with by the courts as hate crimes result in higher sentences under section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

Brighton magistrates court had heard how Kidd punched, slapped and kicked her husband, and had to be pulled away after being found with her hands on his throat.

On another occasion last year, she kicked him after a care worker struggled to help him from his car and into a wheelchair.

She was arrested after the couple split up and the incidents were reported to the police.

A CPS spokesman said: “This case was flagged by the CPS as a disability hate crime. At the sentence hearing, we argued that the language used by the defendant towards the victim made this case a disability hate crime.

“Although the defence argued that the defendant was not motivated by hostility towards the victim’s disability, we maintained that the language still demonstrated hostility.”

A spokesman for Sussex police said the officers investigating the offences had recognised them as potential disability hate crimes, had asked Samantha Kidd about “hate comments” when she was interviewed, and had discussed the hate aspect of the case with CPS lawyers.

Eddie Kidd was one of the world’s most famous stunt performers through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, also working as a stunt double in films such as Goldeneye and The Living Daylights, and was the first rider to jump the Great Wall of China.

He became disabled after crashing his motorcycle during a stunt in 1996, which left him with brain damage and severe physical impairments.

8 August 2013

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