Belfast man punched and pulled wife by hair during attack
A Belfast man who "exploded" into punching and trailing his ex-wife by the hair has been handed a four-month suspended jail term.
Gerrard Clarke also wrecked a bed frame and several household items after turning up at the woman's west Belfast home in the middle of the night.
A judge told the 36-year-old it was among the worst domestic violence cases he had encountered.
Clarke, of Whitecliff Drive in the city, was convicted of common assault and criminal damage.
Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he arrived at the property drunk in the early hours of May 3 and launched an attack.
A prosecution lawyer said he slapped his ex-wife three or four times about the head before punching her to the face.
Clarke then grabbed the woman by the hair and pulled her across the room.
Several items in the house were damaged during the outburst of violence.
Defence counsel Sean O'Hare insisted there had been no previous bad blood between his client and the victim.
Instead, the barrister submitted Clarke was a man suffering from his own personal issues.
Providing the court with documents on the accused's background, Mr O'Hare added: "He can't explain what he was doing, just this was the tipping point of pressures in his own life."
Deputy District Judge Peter Prenter described it as a "nasty, violent offence".
He stressed: "Whatever was happening to him personally, it's as bad a domestic assault as I have come across.
"But I have to take on board your circumstances, this is clearly something which has exploded in you."
Imposing a four-month prison sentence, Mr Prenter decided to suspend the term for 18 months.
Belfast Telegraph Digital