A sports lecturer has been cleared of domestic abuse charges in which it was alleged he forced his then partner into a car before abandoning her on a dark roadside.
Following a contested hearing at Dungannon Magistrates Court a judge threw out the charges deeming the injured party’s evidence unreliable and pointed to areas in which she “tripped up”.
Connor Francis McCullough (33) whose address of no fixed abode, Draperstown was accused of assaulting the woman three times on August 8 and damaging her phone.
McCullough was arrested after police received a call from the woman shortly before midnight, to say she had been abandoned at the roadside, after he pulled her from his car and drove off in a rage.
The injured party described being in a relationship with McCullough for about five months, which had at times been difficult.
They were drinking at McCullough’s home and she was scrolling through her phone. Because she wasn’t paying him attention, he went outside “in a huff”, the injured party claimed.
After a few minutes he demanded to examine her phone.
She refused and McCullough snatched the phone and twisted her arm behind her back.
It was claimed McCullough grabbed her by the throat, pushed her up against a wall and said, “You are leaving now.”
He agreed to drive the injured party home and after loading the car with her belongings, set off.
During the course of the journey she claimed to end the relationship.
Allegedly furious, McCullough stopped in Maghera and flung out the injured party’s property, pitching her bags and keys into a field.
She claimed he dragged her from the vehicle, and drove off, abandoning her at the roadside.
The injured party managed to alert a friend, who came to her aid and took her home.
She confided what she claimed occurred to her mother who said, “That’s domestic violence. You need to contact police.”
McCullough however described a different version claiming the injured party was overtly jealous of him being in the company of any female, often becoming irrational.
He said, “She challenged me on a regular basis about females. When I was teaching, she would demand to know if there were female students. She had a particular issue with my ex. I tried to rationalise with her and we needed a workable relationship.”
McCullough accepted there was a row but contended this was over a scheduled house viewing the next day and, “I was told in no uncertain terms if it was a female showing me round, I wasn’t to get out of the car. She was completely irrational.”
He alleged the victim, “Grabbed me inappropriately in the privates and said, ‘That belongs to me’.
When tensions further escalated, he accepted going outside, “To get space. It was more for her to calm down.”
McCullough denied assaulting the injured party, although did grab her wrist after she, “Pushed me in the chest with both hands.”
He accepted leaving her alone at the roadside, “Which was wrong.”
McCullough denied losing his temper but was, “Frustrated and disappointed with her … It wasn’t a loss of temper – it was a loss of options.”
With evidence concluded District Judge Michael Ranaghan said, “This comes down to credibility. The defendant gave clear, cogent evidence which withstood cross-examination. The injured party was going well until confronted with deep jealousy of the defendant being around other woman. She also tripped up on other evidence.”
Judge Ranaghan ruled he could not be satisfied with the injured party’s evidence and dismissed all charges.
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