Northern Ireland news

Man who punched ex-partner in 'shocking' assault during row avoids jail

Laganside Court in Belfast

A barman who subjected his ex-partner to a "shocking" assault in her own home has avoided immediate imprisonment.

Gavin English (21) received a three-month suspended term for drunkenly attacking the woman at the west Belfast property earlier this year.

Deputy District Judge Trevor Browne told the defendant: "There is something inside your personality that needs to be addressed, and urgently."

English, of no fixed abode, was set to contest the charges, but ultimately pleaded guilty to assault and criminal damage offences.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard he showed up at the woman's home in the Andersonstown area on January 21 and started an argument in the bedroom.

"He proceeded to get on top of her and began to punch her in the face and grab her hair," a Crown lawyer said.

English then damaged a wardrobe and punched her again before exiting the premises, smashing a picture frame as he left.

Police called to the scene discovered the victim bleeding and upset.

English was located and arrested outside the house.

Defence barrister Michael Boyd told the court his client is "genuinely and deeply ashamed" of his behaviour.

Mr Boyd disclosed that English has now sought medical help for anger management issues.

"He has stopped drinking vodka. Spirits were a big problem in relation to his anger," he added.

Sentencing the defendant to three months custody, suspended for 18 months,

Mr Browne described the episode as "shocking".

"Someone who was not only in a relationship (with him) but the mother of his children was attacked twice in her own home and had property damaged.

"It's just beyond belief that you behaved in this way towards somebody like that."

The judge confirmed that English will also be subject to a restraining order for three years.

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