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Coleraine thug Swan fails to appear in court for own appeal

By Nevin Farrell

A man has been ordered to serve four months in jail for subjecting his partner to a prolonged assault.

Robert Swan, who met his victim while they were both inpatients at a psychiatric hospital, had his appeal against the sentence dismissed when he failed to appear in court yesterday.

He abused the woman over a six-day period beginning last Halloween, getting her to shout out that she was a "whore" after he accused her of cheating on him.

Swan (22), of Maple Drive, Coleraine, subjected his ex to the ordeal, which began on October 31 last year.

He was given a four-month jail term at Coleraine Magistrates Court last month.

He appealed, but when he did not appear at the County Court in Antrim, Judge Gordon Kerr QC dismissed the case and issued an arrest warrant.

At a previous sitting of the Magistrates Court, Swan was found guilty of three counts of assault, a charge of making threats to kill, and damaging an ornament belonging to the woman..

When he appeared for sentencing, the court heard he still did not accept there had been violence. As well as the jail term, Swan was made the subject of a three-year restraining order.

A prosecutor said that over a number of days there had been "systematic" abuse of the woman after Swan accused her of "cheating". The ordeal included verbal abuse, slapping, pinning her down, pulling her hair, threatening to kill her and tying a cable around her neck.

Defence barrister Francis Rafferty said his client had a previously clear record and it was obvious he had mental health difficulties, and had called the medical services himself for assistance after the woman's torment ended.

Mr Rafferty said Swan had been getting help from the Community Mental Health Team, but was previously sectioned and spent time in Holywell Hospital.

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