Man who beat girlfriend in front of kids is jailed for six months
A 40-year-old man who punched his girlfriend repeatedly on the face in front of her two young children was yesterday jailed for the maximum of six months at Londonderry Magistrates Court.
District Judge Barney McElholm also imposed a restraining order on the defendant, banning him from contacting the victim for the next five years.
Mr McElholm said that Gavin Quigley from the Waterside area, but who lives with the Simon Community in Coleraine, and who had 91 previous criminal convictions, had shown neither remorse nor regret for his actions which he continued to deny despite his guilty plea.
A solicitor for the Public Prosecution Service told the court that on November 1 last year Quigley came home drunk. His girlfriend was in bed with her two children, aged nine and eight years.
Quigley started an argument during which he ransacked his girlfriend's wardrobe and smashed a photo frame. The woman lifted her children from the bed and ran onto the street with them but Quigley ran after her, threatening her and her children before catching up with her and punching her on the face.
The victim, who became hysterical, ran to a neighbour's house and was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital with her children where she was treated for soft tissue injuries to her face.
A defence barrister said Quigley had been recalled to prison three times in the last 18 months as a result of him breaching prison release licence conditions.
He said that in total, because of the three separate licence recalls, Quigley had spent nine months in jail.
Mr McElholm questioned the maximum six month sentence available to him.
"He denies chasing the injured party up the street and he has given no explanation as to how she received her injuries," he said.
"All of these offences were carried out in front of her two young children.
"It must have been a frightening and traumatic experience for them yet this man still cannot bring himself to admit what he did. He pleaded guilty at the last possible moment and he did not co-operate with the police during his interviews during which he made no comment," the judge added.