A 34-years-years-old man who twice bit his girlfriend, once on the face and once on her left hand, and who broke a bone in her right foot during what was described as a toxic and volatile relationship when both were abusing drugs, has been sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for three years, at Derry Crown Court.
Gareth Anthony Joseph Crumlish, unemployed, whose address was given as Carrowkeel at Quigley's Point in Co. Donegal, admitted three charges of assaulting his then girlfriend in July and October, 2018.
He further admitted causing criminal damage to a window in the door of her flat at Creggan Stree tin Derry where the assaults also occurred. As well as imposing the suspended jail sentence, Judge Philip Babington imposed a Restraining Order for three years.
Under the terms of the Order, Crumlish is banned from pestering, harassing or intimidating his former girlfriend and from instructing anyone else to do so. He was also ordered not to approach within 100 metres of her except for inadvertent occasions.
A prosecution barrister told the court the first assault in July of last year occurred when Crumlish bit his then girlfriend following an argument about money as he attempted to take the money from her hand.
The court heard the two of them struggled inside and outside her flat, resulting in the victim sustaining the broken bone in her right foot.
In the October incident, the court was told Crumlish was attacked by the victim's sister and three men when he arrived at her flat and again assaulted her by biting her on the face.
The court heard Crumlish then drove off in his silver coloured Mercedes car which was found by the police parked outside his then address at Ballymagowan in the Creggan area of the city.
The car had its lights on and inside it the police found a jumper with blood on it. When they located Crumlish he had a blackened and swollen left eye. Defence barrister, Sean Doherty, said the behaviour of Crumlish, who had no relevant record, was both inappropriate and wrong. He said following his arrest and previous court appearance for the offences, Crumlish was remanded in custody for two months and during that time he sought, and continued to receive, counselling for his drugs issues.
Mr. Doherty said by his client's admissions, on the morning of his trial after a jury had been empanelled, Crumlish, whose relation- ship with his then girlfriend was both toxic and volatile, had spared the victim from having to give evidence in an open court.
Passing sentence, Judge Babington said such behaviour in a domestic setting had to be deterred. "This type of behaviour is all too prevalent in this city and in this country. It has to be deterred. “There is no doubt this case does pass the custody threshold", he said.
Judge Babington said in Crumlish's favour was an absence of similar offences and his admissions of guilt. He said he also took into consideration Crumlish's ongoing counselling in relation to his drugs issues."It was a toxic and volatile relationship.
“The abuse of drugs by both parties does not help but you have sought help to address your drugs issues.”
Judge Babington added: I am sure there were good times during this relationship but there have also been some bad times.”
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