35 incidents of violence before victims report it - judge

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

A judge has said it takes an average of 35 incidents of domestic violence before the victim ‘picks up the courage to report it to police’.

District Judge Barney McElholm made the comment yesterday as 30-year-old Jonathan Coups appeared in court accused of assaulting his girlfriend.

The judge heard allegations there wass a domestic history between Coups and the alleged injured party and she had withdrawn her statement of complaint in the past.

Coups, of Glenside Road, is charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent, common assault and false imprisonment between November 15 and 20.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard allegations Coups was with the injured party in his home when he became abusive to his girlfriend, pushed her in the chest and locked them both in the living room.

It is alleged the incident lasted seven hours and Couple was verbally abusive throughout.

Five days later, it was reported Coups grabbed the woman and punched her to the face and head a number of times.

The defendant also allegedly got on top of the complainant and continued to punch her until his dog ‘began to bite her on the feet and legs’.

The court heard the woman sustained possible fractures to her nose and face and has to attend hospital for x-rays. During police interview, Coups denied assaulting the woman or falsely imprisoning her.

Opposing bail, an investigating officer said Coups had a ‘substantial criminal record’ and had a history of breaching bail.

Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott told the court the allegations were only reported to police after his client ‘made it clear he wanted nothing more to do with her’.

District Judge McElholm refused bail stating he would not ‘trust’ Coups to abide by bail conditions.

The 30-year-old was remanded in custody to appear in court via videolink on December 10.