A JUDGE told a man who was involved in a "quite disturbing" assault on his then partner the only reason he was he avoiding jail was because at the age of 58 he had a previously clear record.
District Judge Nigel Broderick was speaking to James O'Neill, of Massereene Street in Antrim town, who was sentenced for charges of assault and causing criminal damage on August 17 this year.
A prosecutor told Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, there had been a "verbal altercation" between themselves and O'Neill and his then partner had left a cocktail bar.
The court heard the woman said they should "separate after a rocky few months" and when they arrived back at the woman's house O'Neill was shouting at his partner.
The woman tried to phone police and the defendant grabbed the phone, "tackling her to the ground," but she was able to run behind the car with O'Neill giving chase.
She got into the house and the defendant pushed her from behind and then "gets on top of her in an attempt to grab the phone".
The situation continued into a rear garden where O'Neill smashed ornaments and punched a shed.
She attempted to phone police again from behind a garage out of sight but the defendant again gave chase and grabbed the phone.
At court the case was passed for O'Neill to read a Victim Impact Report.
Defence solicitor Garret McCann said O'Neill was "quite shocked" on the impact of the incident on his ex-partner after reading the "quite harrowing" statement.
The lawyer said the defendant was a self-employed businessman and wished to apologise.
The solicitor said what happened was "totally unacceptable".
He said there had been an "emotional reaction" which was "totally out of character" to the ending of a long-term relationship.
Mr McCann said it had been a "one-off, shameful, incident".
Judge Broderick said it had been a "quite disturbing" Victim Impact Statement and such incidents "will not be tolerated".
He said it was "quite clear that you have traumatised this poor lady and this behaviour is totally unacceptable".
The defendant was ordered to do 180 hours Community Service and a two year Restraining Order was also put in place.