Child witnesses domestic abuse

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

A man smacked his partner in front of her six-year-old son.

Wigan Magistrates’ Court heard Justin Phelan had been in a relationship with Natalie Fenton and had recently moved in with her in Wigan when the incident happened.

The court was told an argument broke out between 34-year-old Phelan, of Bridgewater Street, Eccles, and Miss Fenton after she asked to borrow some money to buy food for her son.

Prosecuting, Sarah Perkins said: “The young boy was complaining about being hungry and as she was short of money, Miss Fenton asked the defendant if she could borrow some to get him something to eat.

“He became verbally abusive towards her in front of her son. He told her to leave the address but when she tried the door was locked. He went back into the room where she had poured a bowl of cereal for her son and he was eating it. The boy became upset when the defendant slammed the table near him, causing him to run screaming into the hallway.

“The defendant threw the cereal bowl into the hallway after him. The victim was so distraught she tried to leave and was putting her son’s coat on. The defendant picked up a photo frame and threw it in the direction of the victim and the young boy.

“She put the young boy behind her to try to protect him and threw the photo frame back at the defendant in order for them to escape. He grabbed her and slapped her in the face. The victim managed to escape with her son.”

The victim was left with a lump on her head. On arrest the defendant told police he knew he shouldn’t have slapped her but claimed she had been hitting him for months.

Defending, Bob Toppin said: “This was a violent incident but it was not sustained. He knows he needs help and the best advert for that is that he says so himself.”

Phelan admitted assault by beating and was sentenced to an 18-month community order with a 40-day rehabilitation community requirement, a building better relationships programme and 180 hours’ unpaid work. A five-year restraining order was also granted and Phelan was told to pay £50 compensation and £60 victim surcharge.