Grabbed pregnant partner by the throat

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A judge said if a 22-years-old man who grabbed his pregnant partner by the throat lived in America, ‘he would be facing a very serious felony assault charge and up to 20 years imprisonment’.

District Judge Barney McElholm made the comment as he jailed Paul Devine for eight months.

Devine, of Marianus Park, pleaded guilty to common assault, criminal damage and possessing Cannabis in February this year.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard Devine went to his partner’s home in a highly intoxicated state.

After a verbal argument, the defendant began to damage TV’s, chairs and other items in her house.

It was revealed Devine caused £500 worth of damage in total.

He grabbed the woman by the throat and kicked a door, which struck her in the face and knocked her to the ground.

Devine also applied pressure to her head and face as she was on the ground by using his feet.

The court heard the defendant then kneed the injured party in the stomach, knowing that she was four months pregnant at the time.

The injured party was taken to hospital and treated for ‘extensive’ and ‘severe bruising’ to her face and body and a suspected concussion.

Photographs of the victims’ injuries were provided to the court.

Defence counsel Stephen Chapman said this was ‘appalling behaviour’ and involved ‘not only violence against a woman, but against someone who is pregnant and perhaps more vulnerable than otherwise would be the case’.

The barrister said Devine has a clear record, admitted the offences at the first opportunity and is remorseful.

He said it is accepted ‘any right thinking person would say this defendant deserves and immediate custodial sentence,’ however probation may prevent any further offending.

Jailing Devine, Judge McElholm said he had not brought any compensation to court for the victim.

He added it is ‘very easy to say sorry, it is mmore difficult to prove it. One way of proving is is to show willingness to compensate the victim in some way’.

The judge told the defendnat this was an ‘absolutely disgraceful, outrageous attack on this young woman’.

He held up the photo of the victims’ injuries and said ‘look at the face she has been left with - marks on her throat, bruises all over her body - and over what? Him getting drunk and getting in bad humour’.

The judge ordered Devine to pay £1,000 compensation to the injured party and imposed a restraining order for five years.

He agreed to release the defendant pending an appeal of the sentence.