‘I honestly thought I was going to die’
Pregnant mum punched in stomach by father of her unborn child
AMUM was punched in the stomach by her ex-boyfriend while pregnant with his baby. Daniel Holliday, 31, hit Natalie Clark so hard on October 31 last year she was winded and started bleeding heavily.
Natalie, who was 10 weeks pregnant, thought she had lost her daughter - but Ivy Rose was unharmed and is now a healthy five-month-old.
Holliday strangled Natalie, 23, less than a month later in an attack she thought would kill her.
He was found guilty last Tuesday at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court of the two assaults, as well as criminal damage and breaching a restraining order.
Natalie is unhappy he received an 18-month community order rather than a jail term, after she suffered “the worst experience of my life” at his hands. The full-time mum, who has a five-year-old daughter Amelia Rose from a previous relationship, met Holliday in August 2016.
She got to know him through mutual friends and they started a relationship after a night out at Cheltenham High Street bar Lounge 72. Holliday, of Perry Hill in Tewkesbury, was “very much a party lad”, former Pittville School pupil Natalie said.
“I had never been like that,” she added. “When I first got with him it was exciting. Things moved forward very quickly. “In the first couple of months I noticed he was an angry person, but I was so in love with him. I stuck by him.” Natalie says several months into the relationship, the couple had started arguing every day, usually after heavy drinking by Holliday.
“He threatened to smack my jaw and leave me,” she said. “He wanted to have a baby and said he would change if I got pregnant.”
When Holliday was away from home, he made Natalie Facetime-call him for hours to prove she hadn’t left the house, she says.
Holliday committed criminal damage at her home at about 5pm on October 31 last year, shortly after Natalie found out she was pregnant with his baby.
“It was about his dinner not being right,” Natalie said. “He told me I was being moody when I passed the plate to him. He stood up and smashed the plate and the food on the floor. He threw his knife at me. Luckily there was no contact.”
The first assault came later that evening, when Holliday was accusing Natalie of cheating.
She said: “He punched me hard in the stomach and it really hurt. It winded me and I was crouched over.”
Natalie spent the night at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, where doctors told her the baby would be fine.
”I didn’t see him for a few days after that,” Natalie said.
“I wanted to leave but I was terrified. We got back together. I knew deep down it would start again. I didn’t know what to do.”
The second assault happened in her home on November 22.
Natalie was carrying her phone, which had a call ongoing to her friend, unbeknownst to Holliday.
An argument broke out between the pair and Holliday snatched the phone off her.
“I asked for it back and he wouldn’t give it to me,” she said.
“He pinned me up against the wall by my arm. He was throwing punches but he didn’t hit me.
“I ran away into my bedroom and he followed me. He pinned me down on the bed and strangled me.
“I honestly thought I was going to die.”
I knew deep down it would start again. I didn’t know what to do. Natalie Clark
She was still too scared to call police initially, but found the courage to do so on December 1, as Holliday continued to send abusive texts.
Natalie was unhappy with the speed at which police investigated the case.
Holliday was not arrested until January 12 - the day he breached a restraining order Natalie had obtained through the family court in December.
She was with a friend in the Nail Angels salon in Cheltenham.
“Daniel turned up and stood outside the glass door and abused me,” she said. “He was swearing and putting his finger up at me.”
She reported it to police, who arrested Holliday soon afterwards.
Holliday must do 200 hours of unpaid work, pay £460 to the court and adhere to a five-year order restraining him from seeing the family.
Natalie is scared about what will happen if police remove the panic alarm from her house and Holliday returns.
A Gloucestershire police spokesman said: “We can’t discuss individual cases but we are always willing to discuss safeguarding options which are available to victims.
“Measures used are dependent on the individual circumstances and panic alarms are not automatically removed on conviction.
“The safety of victims is paramount to the force and there are a range of safeguarding measures which are regularly put in place to help reduce any risk posed to them.”
Natalie Clark with daughter Amelia Rose. Left, Daniel Holliday