Jailed for ‘horrendous’ domestic assault

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66
Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

A man who subjected his ex-partner to a ‘vicious, disgusting and humiliating assault’ has been jailed for three years.

Darren McKeown, with an address in Blackwatertown, Co. Armagh, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, common assault and making a threat to kill.

The 30-year-old also admitted harassment and breach of a restraining order.

The charges relate to an incident at the victim’s Currynierin home on June 26, last year.

Derry Crown Court heard McKeown went into the house ‘uninvited’ and became ‘angry and aggressive’.

The injured party tried to escape and McKeown ‘swung’ her back into the house. The court was told the woman was ‘terrified and screaming’ and the 30-year-old began to choke her.

She made a ‘dash to the window in desperation’ and McKeown pulled her back until both of them landed on a coffee table.

He then threw her on the sofa and threatened to break her nose. The victim managed to get out of the house and to a ‘good samaritan neighbour’.

However, the 30-year-old followed her into the house and dragged her into the street. In full view of the neighbours, McKeown punched the victim a number of times, pulled her hair and she banged her head off the ground.

He then grabbed her by the hair and ‘trailed’ her back to her own home.

The 30-year-old left a short time later and two hours after the attack ‘bombarded’ the victim with threatening text messages.

In on of them he said ‘you think police are going to save you this time’ and in another told the victim ‘you are a dead woman’.

It was revealed to the court McKeown has a previous conviction for assaulting the woman.

Passing sentence, Judge Stephen Fowler said the sustained assault was a ‘harmful, frightening, distressing and humiliating experience for the injured party.

He added that it occurred in the woman’s home a ‘place where she is entitled to feel safe’.

The judge said the ‘horrendous, cowardly and persistent attack spiralled out into public view’ and McKeown ‘ignored the pleas of others to stop’.

Judge Fowler told the court that ‘all offences of domestic violence are serious. This particular offence is so serious that only a custodial sentence is justified’

He imposed a determinate sentence of three years, 18 months of which will be spent in custody with the remainder spent on licence.