Estranged husband spat in wife's face after she refused to kiss him on Christmas Day

An estranged husband who spat in his wife's face after she refused to kiss him on Christmas Day has been put behind bars.

Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 3:09 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 3:13 pm
Stephen Leach

Stephen Leach was banned from going near the mother of his children under the terms of a restraining order imposed last September.

But Newcastle Crown Court heard the 29-year-old, who was "paranoid and jealous" and suspected his wife had been unfaithful, turned up at her mother's home on Christmas Day.

Prosecutor Mark Guiliani told the court: "He attempted to kiss her. She pushed him away and he spat in her face and, again, was verbally abusive towards her."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The court heard Leach had also gone to his wife's home, in Houghton, on December 9 and been abusive and threatening before he spat on her window.

Leach, of no fixed address, admitted breach of a restraining order and common assault.

Judge Edward Bindloss sentenced him to nine months behind bars and imposed fresh five-year restraining order to keep him away from his wife and her home.

The judge told him: "This was Christmas Day, of all days. You spat in her face, which is, on one view, less serious than being punched but, on another, much worse because of the humiliation and degradation.

"She was in a vulnerable position, she should be protected by the restraining order, that is what it is there to do and you just marched straight around it."

Tom Morgan, defending, said Leach now accepts the relationship is over and is "going to leave her alone".

Mr Morgan added: "He instructs me there have been, over an extended period of time, things that have happened that made him feel uncomfortable and led him to question whether the injured party was being faithful or not.

"While he is not saying the injured part was being unfaithful, the person about whom he has had suspicions is now in a relationship with the injured party."

Mr Morgan added: "He got extremely paranoid and jealous."

Mr Morgan said Leach is "remorseful" for his behaviour and is willing to co-operate with any divorce proceedings.