A jury has been discharged in the trial of a drunk pub customer who was accused of kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach like he was "taking a rugby penalty".

Roger Bygrave, 37, was cleared of child destruction unanimously by the jury after the woman sadly lost her daughter at 28 weeks following the incident.

However they were unable to reach verdicts of two other charges of causing GBH with intent to the pregnant woman and actual bodily harm on her sister.

He claimed to have been acting in self defence after the pregnant woman struck him in the face during the incident on Valentine's Day night last year outside the Market House Inn in Dartmouth, south Devon.

He claimed to have been acting in self defence after the pregnant woman struck him in the face during the incident on Valentine's Day (

Image:

Devon Live / BPM Media)

Plymouth Crown Court heard Bygrave had downed ten pints of cider when he was reprimanded by pub staff for taking his glass pint outside the pub - when only plastic glasses were allowed in the street.

The pregnant woman and her sister had gone outside to try and calm down Bygrave who was being 'argumentative and aggressive'.

Adrian Chaplin, opening the case for the Crown Prosecution Service, said that the pregnant woman had slapped Bygrave in the face first, causing him to kick out.

Bygrave said he lashed out in self defence and did not know who he had struck.

The court heard he then grabbed the hair of the sister and dragged her to the ground and she landed in a large puddle.

It happened outside the Market House Inn in Dartmouth, south Devon (file picture)

Mr Chaplin said the kick was 'spitefully deliberate and unnecessary' and the jury heard Bygrave, of Dartmouth, kicked the woman in the bottom of her stomach as if he 'was kicking in a door'.

The victim said he was rushed to hospital after the attack where she had an emergency Caesarian operation but the unborn baby girl was stillborn.

Bygrave said he cried when he heard she had lost her baby and he told police:"I would never hurt a pregnant woman, or even a woman."

Pub landlord Mark Edwards said: "It was like something out of the Wild West. It was shocking."

He said Bygrave kicked the 28 week pregnant woman 'like a rugby ball' adding: "He stepped backwards, gathered his thoughts and kicked her like he was taking a rugby penalty."

Bygrave had denied child destruction, causing grievous bodily harm with intent to the pregnant woman and actual bodily harm to her sister.

The incident was caught on the pub's CCTV system and Bygrave said:"I now know I kicked this person. I am just really gutted that this happened."

He told the jury: "I did not intend to kill the baby. I had no reason to want to hurt her or her child. I did not deliberately kick her in the tummy. I was defending myself. I did not see who it was."

The court heard Bygrave and the victim were acquaintances who had banter with her and there had never been any problems between them.

The prosecution will make a decision about whether to seek a re-trial on the two counts.