A thug who repeatedly punched his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach has walked free from court after his victim begged magistrates not to jail him.
Kieron Pemberton admitted to assaulting his partner - a primary school worker - while she was four weeks expectant with his child.
It is not known whether the infant survived the brutal attack.
The 34-year-old of Ormsby Close, Standish, appeared before Wigan magistrates charged with assault by beating and using violence to secure entry to a premises.
Magistrates heard how the couple had been in a turbulent six-year relationship even before the incident, with police being called to the address “numerous times”.
On January 1, Pemberton had been out with friends, leaving his partner at home with her three children.
Prosecuting, Joanna Cronshaw said: “He had been texting her all day trying to start an argument asking why she was ignoring him.”
At around 8pm, she went to bed, leaving the front door open as he did not have a key.
Pemberton arrived home at around 12.30am, waking his sleeping partner. He said “happy new year” to her before she fell back asleep.
A short while later she was awoken by him pushing her and shouting “why are you ignoring me?”
His girlfriend started crying and started to ask why he was being so horrible to her. Immediately he started being verbally abusive towards her and insulting her children.
“The complainant came downstairs to get away,” added Ms Cronshaw. “He followed her and she started having a panic attack.
“He sat on the sofa asking why she was crying. He punched her to the stomach and said “get that **** out” - the defendant was referring to the child.
“He punched her four times in total.”
Shortly afterwards he left. His devastated partner locked the door and phoned the police.
Pemberton returned though, and was banging on the door, shouting to let him in. The front door was damaged as he tried to get back into the house. He denied assaulting his girlfriend to police, only admitting it when when the trial date came around. He did admit he knew she was pregnant.
At his sentencing hearing, his tearful victim begged justices not to jail him.
The 32-year-old said: “What Kieron did to me was completely out of character. I make no excuses for his behaviour.
“I was fearful and shocked and I will never forget it. In one split decision he ruined something so good.”
She listed her numerous health conditions to the court, saying that she was born with the spinal conditionscoliosis and has suffered from depression since she was 11 years old.
His girlfriend told the bench she also suffers from an underactive thyroid, leading to regular hospital visits and a muscle wasting condition in her arms and legs which can render her unable to get up the stairs.
The victim explained how Pemberton looks after the children so that she can pursue her education studies and a career in primary school teaching.
She said without him she would be “totally alone” with her three children.
“I need his help and my children, who have never been witness to any of this, need their dad,” she said.
Defending, Nick Woosey said that since the attack, Pemberton has enrolled himself with Alcoholics Anonymous and has been offered a job as a grounds worker.
He explained that his client had been engaging “very well” with the Wigan Children and Young People’s Services, accepting that his behaviour is “a problem”.
The court heard that Pemberton, who has a history of drug and alcohol abuse, has not used illicit drugs “at all” in the past two and a half months and that he is turning his life around by seeking help for his mental health problems.
Pemberton told the court: “I feel ashamed of myself. I wish I could go back in time and I’m sorry for what’s happened.”
Magistrates, who said that Pemberton had shown a “willingness to engage” since the incident, sentenced him to 25 weeks in custody suspended for two years. One week was knocked off due to his late guilty plea.
He was also given an 18-month community order which will include rehabilitation activity requirement, 33 “building better relationships” sessions and 80 hours’ unpaid work. He must also pay costs totalling £615.