Beds, Herts & Bucks

John McAleer cleared of pushing girlfriend off balcony

John McAleer Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption John McAleer was given a life sentence with a 15-year minimum tariff in 2016

A man jailed for pushing his girlfriend off a balcony, leaving her with severe injuries, has been cleared of attempted murder at a retrial.

John McAleer was given a life term in 2016 after being convicted of shoving Danielle Hammond from a fourth-floor flat in Hemel Hempstead in June 2015.

But his conviction was quashed in March 2018 and a jury cleared him of attempted murder on 23 May.

Mr McAleer, 27, had been serving a 15-year minimum sentence.

During his 2015 trial, St Albans Crown Court was told Ms Hammond fell 45ft (14m) from the flat at Lord Alexander House and landed in bushes and on a manhole cover.

She survived the fall, but her skull was fractured. She had bleeding around the brain and has no memory of what happened.

She also suffered major trauma to her organs, broke her wrists and was left with hearing damage and speech impairment.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Danielle Hammond suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain in the fall, but survived

In May 2018, an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found a call handler gave the incorrect grading to a report of domestic violence involving the couple.

The IOPC found Hertfordshire Police had received four domestic violence calls relating to the couple prior to the fall.

Image copyright SBNA
Image caption Ms Hammond fell from a fourth floor balcony

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