Dizzee Rascal loses appeal against conviction for assaulting ex-fiancee

The 38-year-old musician was found guilty at a trial in April last year of assaulting Cassandra Jones.

Grime star Dizzee Rascal has lost his appeal against his conviction for assaulting his ex-fiancee.

The grime artist, 38, whose real name is Dylan Mills, was found guilty at a trial in April last year of assaulting Cassandra Jones by pressing his forehead against hers and pushing her to the floor during a “chaotic” row at her south London home in June 2021.

The musician, who is known for chart-topping singles Bonkers and Dance Wiv Me, sat quietly in the dock at Inner London Crown Court as his appeal against conviction and sentence was rejected.

District judge Vanessa Baraitser, who was sitting with a panel, said they were “satisfied” the case had been made out “in the way that had been alleged by the Crown” and that Mills had “used his forehead to push Ms Jones around” the room.

During his trial, Mills, who had two children with Ms Jones before they split in February 2021, was said to have “barged” into the home, banged his head on a fridge three times while holding his son, and started “shouting” at his ex-partner and her mother Dawn Kirk.

The judge said Ms Kirk had been a “compelling” witness whose evidence during the appeal had been “balanced” about the angry scenes she had seen that night.

Ms Jones had earlier told the appeal hearing she had “stumbled to the ground” after Mills “pushed his forehead into my forehead and pushed me around the room”.

Inner London Crown Court
The appeal was rejected at Inner London Crown Court (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

“He reached his red mist where he just doesn’t care,” she said.

Giving evidence on Friday, Mills denied the claims and said he was not angry when he arrived at the house.

He told the court that Ms Jones was “hostile” to him when he got to her home.

Mills said he had a “good day” with his family in the hours before.

He said he was not in a “bad mood” when he got to the house but it was “annoying” that Ms Jones had persistently contacted him about why he was late in arriving there.

The court heard that in one of their exchanges he told her she was sending him “petty triggering text messages” and that “you do not deserve this much of my time or energy, I’m only here for the kids”.

Mills said that voices were raised at the house as a row over money broke out between the musician, his ex-fiancee and Ms Kirk.

He said he went into the kitchen and asked Ms Kirk “why she had let Cassie use my kids as weapon against me”.

Mills said of Ms Jones that “she was shouting at me” before adding “we were all shouting, it was very loud”.

Claiming that she hit him with a mobile telephone, he said: “She was hitting out at me. She hit me a few times and she scratched me. She hit me with the phone.”

He added: “I took it off her. She was hitting me and hit me again.”

In a prepared statement given to police after Mills had been arrested, he said he was left with scratches to his left arm from the attack and this had been documented by a nurse, the court heard.

Mills described himself as “calm and relaxed” when police arrived but the court heard he told them “I am the aggressor”.

Asked by his defence lawyer Sallie Bennett-Jenkins KC about why he made that comment, Mills replied: “I was just making light and making banter.”

Dizzee Rascal
Dizzee Rascal released his debut album 20 years ago (Ian West/PA)

She asked him: “Did you at any stage, whilst at the premises, did you do anything to physically assault Cassie?”

Mills replied: “I didn’t.”

At one point during the row that night, Mills took the mobile telephones belonging to Ms Jones and her mother away from them.

Prosecutor Helena Duong suggested to Mills the “real reason” behind this was because he wanted to thwart any attempts by them to call the police for help.

Mills responded: “No, I took it because she was already hitting me.”

The court had previously heard that Ms Jones claimed said he had reduced her “allowance” from £2,000 to £1,800 when she was “badly behaved”.

Ms Jones denied the background to the row on the day of the alleged attack was about money.

On Friday, Mills said he always provided financially for Ms Jones and his children, and he did not use his wealth as way to control her.

He told the court: “I think that’s not fair. I do not understand. I paid all the bills and when she got anything for the kids she would invoice me.”

Mills added: “I do not understand why I would need to control her.”

In April 2022, Mills was given a community order, including a 24-week curfew and 12-month restraining order banning him from contacting his former partner, as well as being ordered to pay £2,190 in costs and a £95 surcharge.

These penalties have not been changed and the restraining order is due to expire in April.

Mills was also ordered to pay £620 costs for the appeal.

Mills, who released his debut album Boy In Da Corner, in 2003, was made an MBE for services to music in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2020.