Terrified woman was too scared to leave lover

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A WIGAN man who battered his girlfriend in a sustained attack, including breaking her arm, told police he loved her.

Francis Coleman, who had previously given her a “backhander” during their nine month relationship, began the assault after she admitted she had slept with a former partner.

He began assaulting the woman Julie Gallagher over two or three days and she was too afraid to leave his home in case it led to an escalation in violence, said Claire Jones, prosecuting. She lost track of time but on April 27 she managed to get out of his flat onto Ormskirk Road when he was not looking but after a few moments he caught up with her.

“He tried to stop her by pushing her into railings and she hit her head.

He placed his hands either side of her to stop her leaving saying, ‘I”m sorry, please come back’.”

A witness called the police and when they arrived they saw the condition she was in and after a struggle managed to arrest Coleman. When arrested he said, “Why, I love her.”

At hospital it was found she had suffered a fractured right arm, a split lip, soreness to her face and head, where hair had been pulled out.

She later developed black eyes and sore ribs and was still uncomfortable from her injuries at least a week later.

After the attack she moved out of his home and had nowhere to go, said Miss Jones.

At the time of the attack Coleman was on bail for a previous assault on her, (which is due to be heard by Wigan magistrates). He was granted further bail but after he breached this by contacting her he was remanded in custody.

Jailing 41-year-old Coleman for eight months the judge, Recorder David Turner, QC, said, “This was quite horrifying violence towards a woman.”

He said he accepted they were both heavy drinkers but said, “This was a serious injury and a sustained assault.”

William Swalwell, defending, said: “He is upset at his behaviour and understands he has stepped a long way over the mark of what is acceptable.”

He had not been in trouble for 18 years and had single handedly brought up his son, 18, from the age of three.

He has used his time usefully in prison and attended an alcohol detoxification course and a family relations course.

Mr Swalwell added that Coleman would like the relationship with Miss Gallagher to continue but realised he should leave that decision to her.