Wigan dad encouraged children to attack their mum

The hearing took place at Wigan and Leigh CourthouseThe hearing took place at Wigan and Leigh Courthouse
The hearing took place at Wigan and Leigh Courthouse
A father barged into the bathroom to attack his disabled partner and egged their young children on to join in.

Wigan magistrates heard Paul Dunn, 42, returned home to Daleside Avenue, Ashton, after watching football and drinking and spoke to partner Michelle O’Brien, who described him as “fine but a bit drunk”.

They chatted before Ms O’Brien, whose disability prevents her walking unaided, went up the bathroom.

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Katie Beattie, prosecuting, said she then heard Dunn walking upstairs. He entered the bathroom and started shouting at Ms O’Brien.

Reading a statement from her, Miss Beattie said: “She said ‘I couldn’t believe how he had suddenly changed in his manner. He shouted he didn’t love me, didn’t know why he was with me and still loved his ex’.”

Ms O’Brien felt “very intimidated” and heard their two children, aged three and four, getting up so tried to calm Dunn down. But he grabbed her hair while she was still sitting on the toilet, shouted at her and punched her head and body, the court heard.

Miss Beattie said: “She describes herself feeling like a punch bag.” She saw their children were in the bathroom and Dunn then encouraged them to join the attack.

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The statement added: “The children felt it was a game because they laughed, but they did join in on the assault. I was frightened and upset. I was trying to reason with Mr Dunn in a desperate attempt to stop. I was on the floor and at that time I was almost forced there.”

She described Dunn as “snarling” and said she was “terrified” during the attack. Eventually he stopped and she put the children to bed before calling the police.

Despite the assault, Miss Beattie said Ms O’Brien did not want a restraining order and had no intention of ending the relationship.

Dunn originally denied assault but then changed his plea. He was unrepresented in court and declined to speak when given the chance. He was jailed for seven weeks, suspended for 18 months, and must do 30 sessions of a relationships programme and 35 days’ rehabilitation activity requirement. Dunn must also pay £500 prosecution costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

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