Man with history of domestic abuse banned from contacting ex after judge slams 'unpleasant and pathetic behaviour'

A Wearside man with a history of domestic violence towards his former partner has escaped a jail term for his latest outburst towards her - but been banned from contacting her for five years.

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 11:16 am

Duane Burney, 34, of Wordsworth Avenue West, Houghton, walked free from court after being handed an eight-week suspended prison sentence for damaging French doors at the Sunderland home of his former partner.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard Burney had repeatedly inflicted violence on the woman, the mum of his two children, during their 10-year relationship, which ended last June when he was unfaithful to her.

The court was told the jobless catering industry worker had also blacked her eyes and caused other damage to her property during previous attacks.

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South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.
South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

A Probation Service report into him found he exhibited controlling behaviour and had consistently manipulated situations during their relationship – and was likely to reoffend.

District Judge Kathryn Meek also imposed a five-year restraining order on Burney to prevent him contacting or attempting to contact his former partner or from going near her home, including nearby back lanes.

She told him: “This is a serious offence and children were present. People in domestic relationships who behave in an abusive way time and time again in the family home in front of children, will go to prison.

“Children shouldn’t have to put up with your unpleasant and pathetic behaviour.”

The court was told police were called to the woman’s home on Wednesday, December 4, after Burney knocked French doors at the rear of her home off their hinges.

Prosecutor Clare Irving said Burney had become violent a year into the relationship, adding: “In the past, he has blacked her eyes, hit her on the head and smashed up her house.

“She ended the relationship in June last year because the defendant was unfaithful.

“The defendant goes to her property at teatime and kicks at the French doors. The damage is rectified by one of the attending police officers.”

In a victim statement read to the court, the woman said: “He knocked the hinges off, but a policeman fixed it. The whole incident has made me feel horrible.”

Burney, who pleaded guilty to criminal damage, had his eight-week sentence suspended for 18 months.

He must also complete 30 sessions of the Building Better Relationships programme and 20 days’ rehabilitation work with the Probation Service and pay £85 court costs and a £121 victim surcharge.