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Jail term for man who punched partner three times in ‘nasty assault’

A Tandragee man who punched his partner three times and assaulted a policeman has been sentenced to four months in prison.

David Fletcher (27), of Mill Street, appeared at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, via videolink from Maghaberry Prison.

The defendant pleaded guilty to one charge of common assault and another of assault on police which took place on December 16 last year.

The court heard that police received a report from a member of the public of a man assaulting a woman in Mill Street, Tandragee.

The victim was found outside in an extremely upset state.

Police tried to engage with the defendant, who appeared to be under the influence of drink and/or drugs, but he continued shouting and swearing and was arrested.

When officers tried to move him to the police vehicle, he kicked out, striking the leg of the constable, and proceeded to shout abuse including ‘Up the IRA’.

A witness also told police the defendant had punched the woman three times.

Defence barrister Peter Canavan said it was a very serious case and that his client already had another suspended sentence in play for a similar offence, namely, an assault on police.

He was also appealing a breach of probation as well as being on remand for other more serious matters.

In mitigation, Mr Canavan said Fletcher had indicated an early plea, there were no injuries to police and both parties were “heavily under the influence”.

The barrister said that after the incident the defendant became drug and alcohol free for eight months and that it was a “wake-up” to him.

Unfortunately, he was no longer drug and alcohol free at the time of his being taken into custody three weeks ago.

He had suffered the loss of his grandmother and unborn child and his relationship with the victim has ended, the court was told.

Mr Canavan said there were incidents in the defendant’s past, including discovering the body of a young female when he was 14, that had been a matter of great stress throughout his life.

He was also in a care crash in 2018 which left him heavily medicated and before that held down employment for a long period of time.

Deputy District Judge Prenter said he had read the pre-sentence report and that it was a “nasty assault”.

On the common assault charge, he sentenced him to three months in prison, and for on the assault on police, four months in prison, to run concurrently.

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