Sunderland businessman jailed for punching girlfriend and hitting her head against a steering wheel

Businessman John Clark is behind bars.
Businessman John Clark is behind bars.

A violent businessman has been caged for two attacks that left his terrified girlfriend a "shell of her former self".

Jealous John Clark punched the woman in the face and hit her head against the steering wheel during an attack in her car in December 2014 when he was demanding to check her mobile.

Newcastle Crown Court.

Newcastle Crown Court.

In a second attack, which happened in his car a few weeks later, the 27-year-old pulled out his victim's hair extensions and "punched her for each message he read" when he found phone information about her and a friend speaking to other men at a party.

Self-employed businessman Clark, of Ashbrooke Range, Sunderland, denied two charges of assault and claimed during a trial that the violence was a result of him fending off her jealous attacks.

But he was convicted by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court and Clark, who has previous convictions, has been jailed for 18 months for the two assault occasioning actual bodily harm offences.

In a victim statement, Clark's now ex-girlfriend described the impact of his violence on her.

She said her confidence has "gone" as a result of what happened to her and added: "I was such a fun loving, outgoing girl but that has gone.

"I am a wreck, a shell of my former self.

"As much as I try to block it out, I find it hard.

"The littlest things can cause me to suffer panic attacks."

The victim also offered a word of warning to other women whose partners have used violence against them.

She said: "Walk away after the first time. Do not leave it until it is too late."

Judge Penny Moreland said Clark must now stay away from his victim under the terms of a five-year restraining order.

The judge said: "I am satisfied she was ending the relationship with you and you were not prepared to accept that."

Clark claimed it was the victim who attacked him in December 2014 after accusing him of texting other women.

But the judge said: "Having heard the evidence, I am sure the cause of your violence was your insistence on seeing her phone because you were jealous.

"You punched her about the head and face and whacked her head against the steering wheel."

The second attack happened in January 2015, this time in Clark's car, where he repeatedly pulled out her hair extensions and punched her "for each message" he read about the party.

Clark claimed he had done nothing more than "fend off her jealous attack that night but Judge Moreland told him; "I am sure, on the evidence, once again, you attacked her because you were jealous."

The court heard Clark is a hard working businessman who looks after his own, as well as his ill father's companies and has a child from a previous relationship, who he "dotes on".

Glen Gatland, defending, said Clark has now "moved on" and added: "There has been no repeat, no trouble for over two years."