Belfast Telegraph

Man jailed for trying to bite off girlfriend's nose during 'brutal' attack

By George Jackson

A man convicted of a brutal attack on his then girlfriend has received a six-year sentence, with three years in prison.

Stephen McCarron (35) was unanimously found guilty by a jury at Londonderry Crown Court last month of causing grievous bodily harm with intent on his victim by biting her on the nose, causing a partial severing of her nostril, and of kicking and punching her in the face during a sustained attack in her Bogside flat.

McCarron, from Moyola Drive in the Shantallow area of the city, showed no emotion when the sentence was handed down by Judge Elizabeth McCaffrey.

The court was told that the assault was the culmination of a toxic, disjointed and tumultuous three-year long relationship between McCarron and his then girlfriend.

McCarron, who had 74 previous criminal convictions, two of them for assaulting the same victim, attacked his girlfriend of three years on the night of August 15 of last year following a day-long drinking binge.

The court heard that he and his victim had argued at a bonfire and McCarron had followed her to her flat, where he assaulted her for several hours.

Judge McCaffrey described the assault by McCarron on his victim as brutal.

"She described you kicking, punching and choking her and biting her nose, which she said you tried to bite off.

"She then described how you strangled her and she described fighting for breath.

"She said that you would leave her for a while and go for her again.

"She said she truly believed that you were going to kill her."

The judge said that McCarron, despite coming from a stable family background, had led an aimless and chaotic lifestyle, characterised by drugs and alcohol abuse, unemployment and offending and that he had been assessed as presenting a high risk of reoffending.

She said it was not the first time McCarron had assaulted the same woman, but it was the most serious of the attacks and represented an escalation in the violence he perpetrated against his former girlfriend.

"I consider that culpability in this case is high and the harm, while not the most severe, nevertheless left the victim with a disfiguring injury and in a bruised, battered and terrified state", she said.

"The victim said in her evidence that the assault on her was sustained and involved kicking with shod feet, together with punching, slapping and biting."

Judge McCaffrey said that given the serious breach of trust involved in this "appalling assault which took place in a domestic setting", she believed that the appropriate sentence was six years' imprisonment; three in custody and three years on licence.

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