A 34-year-old man was handed a suspended jail sentence and a restraining order after magistrates heard how he caused serious injuries to a woman following an argument over a parking ticket.
Christopher Barthorpe, of the Pathways Centre, Beaumont Fee, Lincoln, pleaded guilty in December to common assault. Grantham magistrates adjourned the case to Monday for a report.
Magistrates handed Barthorpe a 12 week prison sentence suspended for 18 months and a restraining order preventing him from contacting the victim and entering North Witham. He was also given a 12 month supervision order and must undergo a victim reparation course.
Prosecuting, Shelley Wilson told the court that the victim was living in a bungalow at the Black Bull pub in North Witham and Barthorpe lived in a nearby flat.
They had been in a relationship for several months. Barthorpe was insured to drive her car and she had noticed in April that a speeding ticket had been issued.
Mrs Wilson said there was some contention over the events on the evening of April 24 but said the victim confronted Barthorpe in his flat and tried to grab the ticket off him because she said it was her responsibility.
Barthorpe said he lost his balance when she tried to grab it and fell on top of her. He said his elbow hit her eye, but denied there was any deliberate gouging.
Mrs Wilson said: “She felt as if he was sitting on her and holding her down and felt he was gouging at her eye. She was screaming.”
The victim said Barthorpe put his fingers in her mouth and was trying to suffocate her. She said he also put his sweatshirt in her mouth, but he denied this saying it had been pulled off him.
She then tried to calm him down and he cleaned her face with some wipes and there was blood on them. The victim later ran out of the door, locked it and got away in her car before phoning the police.
She later said she had suffered abrasions to her face, bruises and cuts to her right eye, her mouth was swollen and there were cuts to her lips.
In a victim impact statement read out to the court, the victim said she “did not expect to survive that episode that day” and she thought “her life was over”.
Defending, Rebecca Keogh said her client did not have a history of violence and felt “immediate remorse” after the incident. He accepted he had put his fingers in her mouth but was not trying to suffocate her and he denied deliberately putting his sweatshirt into her mouth.
Miss Keogh said mental health issues had nothing to do with the incident although there may be other “issues” which needed to be addressed. Barthorpe had been homeless for several months after the incident, but was now in accommodation.
Miss Keogh said the only stable features of Barthorpe’s life were his dog and his accommodation, and he had been out of trouble for eight years. She said to take away Barthorpe’s liberty would remove that stability and his ability to move on in life.
The magistrates also ordered Barthorpe to pays costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £80.