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Mummy and daddy are fighting, Belfast child tells police in 999 call

By Ashleigh McDonald

A man who headbutted a former partner after she told him their son wasn't his was sent to prison yesterday.

Stephen James Fox, who appeared at Belfast Crown Court with 117 previous convictions, was handed a 12-month prison sentence by Judge David McFarland.

The court heard that at the time of the assault, the injured party had been granted a non-molestation order against 41-year-old Fox, from Henderson Avenue, which he breached.

Crown prosecutor Peter Magill said the assault occurred on October 22, 2016, when police received a 999 call from a child saying "mummy and daddy are fighting".

When police arrived at the address, they observed a woman who was visibly upset and who was subsequently taken to Antrim Area Hospital. The child who made the call was not present when officers arrived.

Mr Magill said the attack took place after a remark was made about their two-and-a-half year old son not being his.

Revealing this was not the case as a DNA test confirmed Fox was the father, Mr Magill said Fox has been in a similar situation in a previous relationship when he was told a child was his, when in fact he wasn't.

The prosecutor said that due to a remark made by his ex about their son's paternity, Fox "lost his temper" and attacked her.

He grabbed her by the throat then followed her into another room, where he headbutted her. She sustained soft tissue injuries as a result.

Defence barrister Luke Curran spoke of his client's "long-standing" addiction to drink and drugs, and said he had underlying mental health issues which has included being admitted to a psychiatric unit in 2007.

Regarding the incident, Mr Curran said that when his ex told Fox their child was not his - due to what had happened to him in a previous relationship - he "went mad".

Handing Fox a 12-month prison sentence, Judge McFarland said it was clear he had poor coping skills.

The judge told Fox: "When you were faced with this particular situation, you were not able to cope with it and as a result you assaulted this unfortunate lady."

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