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Armagh man who dragged partner from car by her hair handed six month prison sentence

Armagh Courthouse

An Armagh man has been sentenced six months in prison after he pulled his partner out of his car by her hair.

Conall Eamon Duffy, 34, of Drumshill Park, appeared before Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday charged with common assault.

It was heard that on February 20, 2017, at around 9pm the injured party attended a police station in the city and told police that she had been assaulted by her partner on the Loughgall Road.

She told police she was in a car with the defendant when he began to verbally abuse her; it was at this point she asked to be taken home.

When Duffy refused to do so the complainant dropped an ice cream she was holding on to the floor of the car.

The defendant then pulled the woman by her hair and began to punch her in the head.

Duffy then stopped the car and got out, before proceeding to pull his partner from the vehicle by her hair.

Court heard that he then threw her bag at her and drove off, leaving her by the roadside.

The injured party received a swollen lower lip and head, along with bruising to her left hand.

Duffy was subsequently taken into custody and when interviewed by police he made no comment to any of their questions.

Defence counsel told the court that Duffy totally denied all the allegations levelled against him.

They added that he did have a “somewhat relevant record”, clarifying that the previous offence had been on a different person.

Duffy, who has had previous problems with alcohol, was a former St. Patrick’s Grammar student, had studied at Glasgow University and previously been in the merchant navy, the court heard.

The defence outlined that the Duffy accepted being with the complainant and that they had been having an argument.

This they said had been about her taking drugs which had not been prescribed to her – namely tramadol and diazepam – with Duffy saying she was “acting like a zombie”.

The defendant claimed that his partner had in fact attacked him and this had forced him to stop the car.

Duffy accepted that he did remove her from the car but claims he had grabbed her by the shoulders, adding that he had carried out this action in order to let her cool down. He said he later returned but she was no longer at the roadside.

Defence counsel argued that photos of the claimant’s injuries “do not show any evidence of her being pulled by her hair and the marks on her head are inconsistent with the allegations”.

District Judge Paul Copeland told Duffy “the custody threshold had been well met”, pointing to the victim impact statement as well as the defendant’s record showing “a repeat of characteristic conduct” and the fact that he showed no remorse for the incident.

“This is a cruel and consistent abuse of young vulnerable women,” said the judge as he sentenced Duffy to six months in prison.

The defendant was also ordered to pay £1,500 in way of compensation to the injured party.

Defence counsel stated that they would be appealing the decision and Duffy was subsequently released on continuing bail of £400.

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