Man who went 'ballistic' during girlfriend attack avoids jail

Newcastle Crown Court.
Newcastle Crown Court.
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A woman's head was cut open by a flying wooden bowl when her boyfriend went "ballistic" during an attack at his home.

John Joyce threw the kitchenware recklessly towards his long-term girlfriend during a rage, which split her scalp and resulted in her having four staples at hospital.

During the explosion of anger, the 35-year-old threw his victim out into the street in her torn pyjamas and refused to calm down even when the police arrived.

At Newcastle Crown Court Joyce, of Kenilworth Court, Sulgrave, Washington, who was on a community order for an earlier attack when the same victim was pushed, admitted assault and criminal damage to her mobile phone.

Prosecutor Jolyon Perks told the court the couple had been in a relationship for more than 17 years but were living apart.

On February 17 the victim stayed over at Joyce's home and had been sitting on the sofa listening to music through headphones when she thought he was asleep.

But Mr Perks told the court: "The next thing she was aware of was the defendant had woken up and punched her.

"He went ballistic. He grabbed her, dragged her off the settee onto the floor, ripping her clothing.

"He took up a wooden bowl and threw it at her.

"It hit her head and split her head open.

"She had to be taken to hospital and received four staples to close the injury.

"He took her phone off her and stamped on it on the floor, smashing it.

"She also recalls he stamped on her."

The court heard neighbours contacted the police after the victim was dragged into the street.

Mr Perks said when officers arrived that Joyce was still "up a height".

The court heard the couple, who had both been drinking that night, have now split up.

Mr recorder Toby Hedworth sentenced Joyce to 15 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation requirements and a lifelong restraining order to keep him away from the victim.

The judge told him: "When you drink too much you become a violent lout.

"You threw a wooden bowl in her direction. I accept you did not deliberately use it as a weapon but it was thrown recklessly and caused a very unpleasant split to the back of her head."

The judge said input from the probation service to help Joyce control his future behaviour would be the best way to protect the victim and the public at large.

Lorraine Mustard, defending, said Joyce has a history of mental health problems, which are aggravated by him trying to manage them with alcohol.

Miss Mustard added: "He is exceptionally remorseful for what he has done to her.

"She has been someone who was not just his partner but his best friend for the last 17 years.

"He knows and acknowledges he has damaged the relationship to the extent it can no longer exist.

"He didn't properly think about the consequences of his actions."