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Abuser Caolim Baker new victim

Apr 22, 2023Apr 22, 2023

(with pics of Laura and Caolim Baker and images of WhatsApp messages sent to Gerry)

By Roisin Gorman

Violent thug Caolim Baker threatened to kill former partner Laura Herron after a sickening catalogue of abuse.

The north Belfast man already has a string of convictions from his attack on a previous girlfriend who was beaten so badly their children didn't recognise her.

He’d even boasted about beating Kirsty Morrison in Facebook posts before his vicious attack on her.

In a chilling pattern of behaviour another ex has now come forward to warn women about the serial abuser.

Baker, 28, terrorised Laura with physical and mental abuse during their relationship and after it ended.

During a series of assaults, she alleges he's burned her with an iron, beaten her with an ironing board, bitten her, pulled out her hair and strangled her.

Despite her non-molestation order he messaged her just weeks ago threatening to kill her and burn down her house in Rathfern.

In a disturbing WhatsApp message on April 20, he wrote, ‘il smash ur fkin face in again’, ‘watch ur house il burn it out just like I burnt ur scrap heep of a car’, ‘il kill you before u do it urself’, and ‘sleep with ur eyes open.’

A second expletive-filled message included the threat ‘il send the ra to ur door ya rat’.

Laura's car had previously been set on fire outside her home, the second time in a year she’d had a vehicle torched. On the advice of police, she's now had security alarms fitted to her windows and door and carries a rape alarm.

The 31-year-old, who has a child with Baker as well as a teenage daughter, says she’d started her relationship with him before he appeared in court for the assault on his former girlfriend, but was manipulated into believing he was innocent.

"I didn't really want a relationship, but he bombarded me with text messages," she says.

"At the time I was nursing my mother, who died of cancer in 2015 and I felt like it was somebody there."

Months after they’d started their relationship Baker was convicted of the attack on his former partner. He was found guilty of assault, assault occasioning ABH, possession of an offensive weapon and criminal damage, and received a nine-month sentence, suspended for two years.

Kirsty Morrison shared the horrific photographs of her injuries and the social media posts from Baker including the message, ‘My ex? Yeah, I’d still hit that. Only this time, it’d be with a car or a baseball bat.’

"He said he was sorry for hitting her, and he’d never hit a woman, and at the time I didn't know the ins and outs of it. I didn't know."

Laura says she had already started to see a darker side to him when he mocked her for grieving for her mother Margaret, who’d died at 51 from cancer just four weeks earlier.

He also put pressure on her to have a child with him.

"He bugged me for a year to have a baby with him. I’d reared my daughter on my own and I wanted to do it the family way this time.

"I was six months pregnant when he hit me for the first time. He came home from work and was making a fry and a wee girl friended me on Facebook. I asked if he knew her, and he threw a frying pan of hot oil at me. I threw him out after that, and I never took him back."

She kept him informed of hospital appointments and Baker attended the birth. Laura says they never resumed their relationship, but he continued to come and go from her home, and she claims the violence ramped up.

"He burned me on the arm with an iron, bit my hand, punched me so hard I put my tooth through my lip, pulled out clumps of my hair, grabbed me from the back and tried to strangle me.

"He’d say, ‘who's ever going to want you? You’re fat and you’re ugly. Look at the state of you’."

A neighbour called police to one incident when Baker had attacked Laura and locked her in the house.

"A neighbour saw me trying to climb out the window and him grabbing me back by the hair. When the police came there was blood up the walls and the imprint of my face on the arm of the sofa. The police wanted to take it the full way, but the PPS said there wasn't enough evidence.

"By the time I got the non mol order I looked like the elephant woman. My own kids were scared of me."

Laura also alleges she was subject to coercive control, with Baker monitoring her visits to local shops by demanding she showed him receipts.

"It got to the stage where I didn't want to go out.

"He took me away. I felt like I couldn't speak. I felt like I was screaming, and no one would listen, like I was carrying a backpack full of bricks every day. He's taken away all my confidence."

Laura alleges she was assaulted by Baker on up to 15 occasions. She turned to Women's Aid for help and says she's speaking out now to warn others about her former partner.

Women's Aid's most recent figures for 2021/ 22 show that nearly 7,500 women in Northern Ireland were supported in their homes by the charity, and it gave shelter to 543 women in refuges and 397 children.

The resignation of former Derry GAA manager Rory Gallagher after allegations of decades of domestic violence from his estranged wife Nicola also brought the issue back into the public domain.

Laura says now suffers from PTSD, anxiety, and depression as a result of her experience with Baker.

"People should be warned about him. I wouldn't want another girl to suffer the way I have, and the way Kirsty did. And he's getting away with it.

"I just want to be left alone," she says.