Court hears Ballymena man grabbed estranged wife 'by throat'

Court hears Ballymena man grabbed estranged wife 'by throat'

A BALLYMENA man who pleaded guilty to assault after his estranged wife said he had grabbed her by the throat has been put on Probation for 18 months and made the subject of a two year Restraining Order.

Andrew John McKeown (31), with an address listed as Dunclug Gardens, also admitted stealing his former partner's mobile phone on November 7 last year.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court that at 6pm police received a report of a domestic incident at an address in Ballymena and a woman told police her "estranged husband had grabbed her by the throat and stolen her phone".

Defence barrister Chris Holmes said it "seems to be out of character" and the defendant appreciates "the behaviour was completely unacceptable".

District Judge Nigel Broderick said: "Courts take a very dim view of domestic violence and the courts will readily and very frequently will impose immediate custodial sentences.

"It is very dangerous to grab anyone by the throat because you block their airways and that can cause significant, and possibly on occasions, fatal consequences. So the court regard that as an aggravating feature".

The judge said the defendant had "no relevant previous convictions" and Probation had said they believed McKeown would benefit from Probation.

Judge Broderick told McKeown: "This is not an easy option. These Orders can be intensive and require a lot of commitment from you. So before you consent to it, do you understand taht if you fail to comply with this Order, if you don't do it, and you come back to Court I will send you to prison".