A Lurgan thug who admitted assaulting his heavily pregnant partner one day and threatening to kill her the next has been handed a 27-month jail sentence.
Craigavon Crown Court heard that breaching bail conditions imposed for an earlier attack, an already drunk 25-year-old Shea Patrick Haughian went to his then partner’s home, swigging from a bottle of Buckfast but looking for money for more booze.
Prosecuting counsel Ian Tannahill said the victim was 33 weeks pregnant at the time and had been putting money aside to pay the rent which was due in a couple of days.
During an argument over the cash and her refusal to give any to Haughian, he grabbed her by the hair and threw her out of the house and when she got back in again, he threw a glass of water over her, head butted her and “slapped her across the face.”
“She gave in and gave him £30,” said Mr Tannahill, adding that the following day, the September 25 last year, the victim received a threatening phone call and text message which left her so terrified that she contacted the police.
Haughian had texted her saying “I’m going to f*** kill you, I’m going to beat you you fat smelly c***.”
When police arrived, they noted the victim had a swollen nose, a cut lip and bruised arms but Haughian wasn’t arrested until September 30 and although he admitted grabbing her by the arms and sending the text message, he claimed “he just wanted to scare her” but denied pulling her hair or striking her.
At the time Haughian, from Glenholme Avenue in the town, was on bail for an earlier attack so the September incident was the second time Haughian attacked the mum-to-be.
Around eight weeks beforehand, on July 12, Haughian had launched an “almost identical” attack and later entered guilty pleas to common assault, criminal damage and possession of an offensive weapon.
Defence counsel Damien Halleron said the best point he had was that Haughian had entered guilty pleas to three counts of common assault and one of making a threat to kill rather than “any attempt to play stick or twist and see if she would turn up” to give evidence against him.
“There’s an expression of remorse and an acceptance of culpability” in what the lawyer conceded was an “incredibly distasteful set of circumstances”.
“It’s difficult to find sympathy for Mr Haughian, particularly given the circumstances,” Mr Halleron told the court and revealing that thankfully, the defendant’s son was born without complications, Haughian has yet to meet him.
Jailing the thug, Judge Patrick Lynch KC said the main aggravating factors was the attack on a pregnant woman, the mother of his child no less, in circumstances of domestic violence.
“It’s clear that when he has drink taken, and perhaps even when not in drink, he regards a female in his company as a potential punch bag for his own ill temper and to take out whatever frustrations he has in his life,” said Judge Lynch.