Sunderland man jailed for repeatedly punching his ex-girlfriend in attack at her home

A Sunderland man has been jailed for repeatedly punching his ex-girlfriend in an attack at her own home.

By Echo Reporter
Tuesday, 30 July, 2019, 17:25
South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Stephen Westgarth, 30, of Gillingham Road in Sunderland, admitted assaulting the woman in an incident on March 3 this year.

He appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court for sentencing for charges of assault by beating, criminal damage and cannabis possession.

The guilty plea to assault was on a basis that was accepted by the prosecution. Westgarth admitted kicking down the door and assaulting the woman.

Prosecutor Bethany Jendrzejewski said the incident began with the defendant leaving the victim’s flat in Sunderland before getting stuck in the communal area between the door to the flat and the main building door.

“After being sat in the communal area for around 20 minutes, the defendant accepts kicking the door to gain access [to the flat].

“[He] began to punch her all over her body. She was pulled down to the floor and was being punched.

“She managed to get up off the floor and went into the bedroom. The defendant followed her [and] continued to assault her in her bedroom by punching her.”

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At one point Westgarth ‘kicked with full force’ to the bottom of the victim’s back.

In a statement after the incident, the victim said: “I was extremely sore and felt like I couldn’t sit down properly. My left ear was bleeding slightly.”

Defence solicitor Greg Flaxen said: “The assault has taken place after an argument. The injured party should never have been caused these injuries. There has been blows both ways.”

However, he asked the magistrates not to send Westgarth to prison, arguing that he is a working man who is ‘contributing to society’.

Sentencing Westgarth, chairman of the bench John Lee said: “We have listened with care to what we have been told. It is a domestic violence assault carried out in the victim’s own home. This clearly passes the custody threshold.”

He was jailed for a total of 24 weeks, including a suspended sentence from a previous offence that was activated.

Westgarth must also pay compensation to the victim.