A VIOLENT partner was charged with assault after his dog bit his girlfriend.
The woman suffered cuts and grazes to her leg, arm and hip in the attack by the American bull terrier, Durham Crown Court heard.
Brett Murray pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The plea was accepted after prosecutors decided he had not deliberately set the dog on the woman,
“The dog biting happened during a domestic argument,” said Joanne Kidd, prosecuting. “Murray has previous convictions for assaulting the same woman.
“He was made the subject of a restraining order and was in breach of that order, even though the woman was content for him to be in her house in Easington Colliery.”
Murray, 32, of Mary Street, Silksworth, Sunderland, admitted breach of a restraining order on October 18.
The court heard he has previous convictions for battery, criminal damage and offences of assault.
Alex Burns, defending, said: “This is an odd situation.
“When he was released from his last sentence for assaulting the victim, it was she who turned up in the car at the prison gates to collect him.
“They have been claiming benefits together and he has been stopping in her house at her invitation.
“He now accepts he must not have any more contact with this woman, and has deliberately not told her of this hearing so she won’t find out when he is released from prison.
“Mr Murray has been in custody for 14 weeks which the court may feel is sufficient punishment for breaching the order.”
The Recorder, Mr Jonathan Aitken, sentenced Murray to a 12-month community order and 120 hours of unpaid work.
The recorder told him: “I am not going to send you to prison today because you have already been inside for a while.
“The restraining order is still in force.
“It only goes so far to say she is willing to have you, she is not the judge and you must not breach the order or you will go back inside.”
Murray was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60.