Belfast Telegraph

Derry thug smashed pregnant partner's TV, court told

By George Jackson

A woman gave birth to a baby girl just two hours after she contacted the police about a domestic violence incident in her home, a court has heard.

Londonderry Magistrates Court was told by a PSNI officer that Francis Martin McShane (41), from Carnhill in the city, had "an extremely long domestic violence history".

He told District Judge Barney McElholm that the defendant, who denies causing criminal damage to items in his partner's home and who also denies stealing £200 from her purse, had been assessed as presenting a high risk of violence to women.

"This man has multiple convictions for domestic violence crimes involving a previous partner," the officer told the court yesterday. "He has an extremely long domestic violence history and police believe any woman who goes out with him is likely to become a victim.

"We believe, given his criminal record of assaulting women and of breaching restraining orders, that it is highly likely he will reoffend if released on bail."

The police witness said that at 3.20am on Tuesday officers received a report of a domestic violence incident in the injured party's Carnhill home, 200 metres from the defendant's home.

He said the injured party claimed that during an argument the defendant ripped a mounted TV from her bedroom wall and jumped on it. He then threw a vase at the wall. The woman also said the defendant had stolen £200 from her purse before leaving and going to his own home.

The officer said the injured party, who was 37 weeks pregnant at the time of the alleged incidents and who gave birth to a daughter hours later, was now fearful of the defendant.

"The domestic violence office said it is a certainty he will offend again because he has already being assessed as presenting a high risk to women and we also have concerns for the welfare of the baby," the officer said.

Applying for bail, solicitor Seamus Quigley said no violence was used during the incidents, which the defendant denied.

He said the defendant's previous domestic violence history related to another partner, and he said it could take months for the case to be finalised.

"When he was arrested in his home the officers found on him not £200, but £12. They have been in a relationship for just over a year," Mr Quigley said.

Mr McElholm said social services should be contacted about the case immediately.

He released the defendant on his own bail of £500 and ordered him to reside at a bail address well away from his partner's. He said the address had to be approved by police.

The judge ordered the defendant not to have any contact with his partner and said any contact with his baby daughter had to be approved by his partner and supervised by social services.

He also banned the defendant from entering the Carnhill estate and from consuming alcohol.

The defendant must submit to breath tests and to field impairment tests if requested to do so by the police.

The case was adjourned until August 24.

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