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Man who assaulted ex-partner twice in four days to appeal 14 month prison sentence

The injured party said he asked her for money and when she said she did not have any he proceeded to punch her in the face and drag her throughout her home

A man who assaulted his ex-partner on two occasions in four days will appeal his sentence of 14 months in prison.

Sentencing the 42-year-old, the district judge commented: “On two occasions, during lockdown, he managed to commit serious offences.”

Bruno Garcia, 42, whose address is given as no fixed abode, Armagh, appeared for sentencing on assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault, criminal damage and breach of a community based order at Craigavon Magistrates’, sitting at Lisburn, on Friday via videolink from Maghaberry.

These assaults related to two separate incidents within days of one another and both were committed on the same victim, that being the defendant’s ex-partner.

Prosecution outlined that on April 18, police received a report of a domestic incident at an address in Portadown.

Upon arriving, officers heard shouting from inside the property. They banged the door but no one answered.

However, police were able to hear a female’s voice stating: “He locked the door. He won’t let me out.”

Police identified themselves but had to force their way into the property, where they found the defendant in the living room.

Garcia became aggressive towards the officers, which resulted in him having to be restrained and handcuffed.

The injured party told police she had let the defendant into her home earlier with a friend but after leaving the property he had returned.

She stated that the pair had been in relationship previously but were no longer together.

Once inside the property, the injured party said that Garcia had asked her for money and when she said she did not have any he proceeded to punch her in the face and drag her throughout her home.

After some time, the injured party was able to break free and run upstairs, where she made contact with the police.

It was observed by the officer that she had cuts to both her lips and her hands.

Garcia was arrested and during interview, he stated that he had gone to the property to collect money for a friend. He claimed to have slapped his ex-partner in self-defence and claimed she was being “over dramatic”.

Three days later, on April 21, police were flagged down on Market Street at 10am by the injured party. She claimed that the defendant had smashed a window at her property and had assaulted her.

She gave police a key to her home saying that Garcia was still present there. When officers arrived they found him on the settee at the property.

The defendant was arrested and during a search police located an opened packet of diazepam tablets on his person.

When interviewed, Garcia confirmed he had not been prescribed the medication but denied pushing the injured party.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson stated: “This is a very serious matter and he understands the possible outcomes. He has now been in custody on these matters since April which is the equivalent of an eight month sentence.

“He does have a record but there is nothing of a violent or domestic nature. In the first incident, he instructed that there had been an argument and he made a statement that she had brandished a knife, but there is no excuse for what happened next.”

District Judge Rosie Watters said: “On two occasions, during lockdown, he managed to commit serious offences. In the circumstances and given his plea I will order that the sentences run concurrently to one another but consecutive to the breached suspended sentence.”

Garcia was sentenced to six months in prison for the offences before the court, while a suspended sentence of eight months was also invoked making at total of 14 months.

Mr Thompson made it know, that his client wished to appeal the sentence. Bail to appeal was fixed at £500 but Garcia was not released.

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