DCSIMG

Domestic violence a ‘serious problem’

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

A judge has said domestic violence is a serious problem within our society where ‘men are harassing women, bullying women and seeing them as possessions.’

A judge has said domestic violence is a serious problem within our society where ‘men are harassing women, bullying women and seeing them as possessions.’

Judge Stephen Fowler made his comments as 30-year-old Darren McKeown appeared at Derry Crown Court.

McKeown, of Mullanary Road, Blackwatertown in Armagh admitted assaulting and falsely imprisoning a woman in the Currynierin area of Derry on June 26 2013.

McKeown also admitted harassing the woman making threats to kill and breaching a restraining order on the same date.

A co-accused, 24-year-old Sarah Marie Maben, of Lambfield Court in Dungannon admitted common assault on the same date.

The court was told that McKeown travelled from Dungannon to speak to his former partner and when he entered her home an argument ensued.

McKeown grabbed the injured party by the throat and squeezed and only stopped when she said she would talk to him.

The 30-year-old grabbed her by the hair and threw her on to a coffee table. He then pushed her onto a couch.

The woman then tried to run out and at this stage the defendant Maben came in, grabbed her and pushed her back.

The injured party managed to get out the front door and ran to a neighbour’s house.

McKeown followed her and pushed his way into the neighbour’s house before punching the victim in the face and pulling her to the ground by the hair.

The court was told that Maben was trying to intervene and at one stage said to McKeown “I didn’t bring you here for this.”

The court was told that McKeown had also sent threatening text messages to the woman before and after the incident. One of the messages said: “You are making it worse for yourself. Do you really think that the police are going to save you?”

A further message said ‘you are a dead woman.’

It was revealed to the court there was a restraining order in place prohibiting McKeown from having any contact with the injured party.

The court was told that McKeown had 44 previous convictions and in August 2012 he had been convicted for assaulting the same injured party.

A defence barrister said that McKeown was not seen to pose a significant risk.

He said that he had accepted his behaviour was unacceptable.

The barrister then said that the false imprisonment charge could be seen in the context of a lover’s tiff.

At this stage Judge Fowler said “This was a persistent, repeated example of domestic violence and harassment I do not accept it is a lover’s tiff.

“To classify it as a lover’s tiff is to fail to recognise this is a serious problem within our society. A problem of men harassing women, bullying women and seeing them as possessions.

“This man was subject to an order which he disregarded.”

A defence barrister for Maben said she faced a different set of circumstances and had no idea of what was going to happen.

He added that his client had tried to stop McKeown.

Judge Fowler sentenced Maben to a £200 fine. He said he wanted time to consider McKeown’s sentence and adjourned the case until later today.

 
 
 

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