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Man who struck ex-partner to the head handed suspended sentence

His defence said it was 'completely out of character' but admitted that was no excuse

Armagh Courthouse

A Richhill man who struck his ex-partner to the head after making abusive calls and texts has been handed a suspended sentence.

The 38-year-old’s barrister told court: “This is a disgraceful piece of behaviour….this is completely out of character, although that is no excuse.”

James Haddock, of Main Street, appeared for sentencing on common assault and harassment at Armagh Magistrates’, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that police received a report of a domestic incident which occurred between October 19 and 20, of last year.

The victim claimed that between the evening of October 19 and the early hours of October 20, she had received numerous calls and texts which contained abusive and threatening language from her ex-partner, the defendant.

On October 20, at 10.30am, the injured party had attended Haddock’s Richhill home in order to drop off their three-year-old child.

The defendant proceeded to get into her vehicle and a verbal argument ensued, which resulted in Haddock striking the injured party to the head causing her to hit it on the driver side window.

Haddock’s ex-partner recorded the incident on her mobile and this was caught on a police body worn camera.

The defendant was subsequently arrested and made no comment to questions put to him during an interview at Lurgan Custody Suite.

Defence barrister Patrick Taggart stated: “This is a disgraceful piece of behaviour from Mr Haddock. This is completely out of character, although that is no excuse.

“The relationship has now ended cordially and contact is made through a third party. He accepts fully responsibility in the report.”

The barrister commented on the “rare” recommendation by the author of the report for a two-year probation order and outlined the origin of the incident concerned the two parties’ child together.

Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer stated: “You are a person of 38, with no previous record and you have been in constant employment, all of that is in your favour.

“I don’t believed you need probation, I don’t see a domestic violence history or any evidence of long term inappropriate attitudes towards women.”

He added: “Any domestic violence perpetrated, particularly by a man on a woman, is viewed as serious by the court.”

Haddock was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for 18 months and Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer imposed a restraining order also for 18 months.

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