AN attacker who broke his girlfriend’s nose with a brutal headbutt has walked free from court.
Kenneth Gardener had been told he would not be welcome at Lynn Mickle’s home if he had too much to drink while out watching a football match on February 9.
Despite her warning, the 24-year-old turned up drunk in the early hours of the following morning and accused her of cheating on him during their six-month relationship.
The court heard Miss Mickle was at the door trying to escort him out of the house when he attacked.
Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court: “He headbutted her, striking her on the nose. That caused her to fall backwards and bang her head on the door frame.
“She tried to walk away and he followed her into the garden and punched her in the mouth.”
Miss Mickle was left with swollen and cut lips, sore teeth, a painful arm, as well as a fractured and swollen nose.
She told police after the attack: “I am scared. I never believed Kenneth would go that far.
“Now I don’t know what he is capable of.
“It is the first time he has hit me. I can’t imagine what he would do next.”
Gardener, of St Luke’s Road, Sunderland, has never been in trouble before or since the attack.
He pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm.
Recorder David Dixon sentenced him to eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision, programme requirement, 80 hours’ unpaid work, £500 compensation and £500 costs.
The judge said it was “disgraceful behaviour” and added: “For hitting a woman you richly deserve to go to prison straight away.
“But against that, you are in employment, you have never been in trouble before and things can be done with you.”
The judge said the sentence could be suspended by “a whisker”.
Gardener was given a two-year restraining order, banning any contact with Miss Mickle.
Vic Laffey, defending, handed in references to Gardener’s usually positive character.
Mr Laffey said: “He is devastated at the way he has acted.
“He accepts this would appal anyone.”