Suspended sentence after assault on his girlfriend

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A MAN who assaulted his girlfriend, after appearing in court on earlier assault charges against her, has received a suspended prison sentence.

Simon Daniel Church, 24, of Church Close in Atwick, had pleaded guilty to two charges of assault before appearing at Bridlington Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The first charge related to an incident on the evening of February 18 this year, when Church, his girlfriend Lisa Marie Joniec of Bridlington, and friends had been out celebrating Ms Joniec’s birthday.

They went back to a friend’s house to continue the party, at which point Church and Ms Joniec began to argue over some lost cigarettes.

She had picked Church’s phone up to call his mother about the argument, but then saw Church come towards her and the phone slipped out of her hand.

Ms Joniec told police that in another room, Church punched her and pushed her with enough force to knock her over a number of times.

Ms Joniec later told police that she had exaggerated the force with which Church had assaulted her, and was now trying to reconcile their relationship.

Prosecuting, Heather Levitt told the court that after appearing in court over the first allegation, Church then met again with Ms Joniec in Atwick on April 24 this year.

Again an argument broke out while the pair where on Cliff Road in Atwick, and Church is said to have pushed Ms Joniec “causing her to badly hurt her head on the pavement”.

Church was arrested by police after this incident, and appeared in court from custody.

Ms Levitt said: “After the first incident Ms Joniec admits she got in touch because she thought she might be pregnant, and this meeting led to the second incident.

“She has very recently asked for a restraining order to be put on the defendant so that something like this cannot happen again.”

Mitigating for Church, Vicky Lancaster told magistrates that Church realised he needed to stop all contact with Ms Joniec, and end their relationship.

“Ms Joniec tries to contact the defendant constantly, and I have seen text messages sent to the defendant, to his mother, and even to me asking for restrictions to be lifted so she can see him.

“After the defendant had appeared in court, she was waiting for him outside and texted him to take him for a pint.

“The defendant wants to move out of the area, sort himself out and forget about this incident entirely. I fear if you grant a restraining order today, and Ms Joniec continues as she has, you are setting him up to fail.”

Presiding magistrate Sue Akrill told Church that magistrates had listened very carefully to both sides of the argument, which she said was “very strained and difficult”.

Mrs Akrill gave Church an eight week prison sentence for each assault, suspended for 24 months. She also imposed a restraining order for 24 months, ordering Church not to contact Ms Joniec directly or indirectly, or go within 100 yards of her home address in Bridlington or her work address.

She said: “We believe you need to make a fresh start, but we still need to deal with what you have done.

“We are going to impose a restraining order, so you need to understand that if you go anywhere near Ms Joniec you will go to prison.

“Leaving the area could be the best solution, but you will take need to take part in an alcohol awareness course with the probation service.”

Mrs Akrill also reminded Ms Joniec - sat in the public gallery in court - that a restraining order was “a very serious issue” which she needed to fully comply with.