A County Antrim man described as an “absolute danger” to women has been sentenced to nine months in jail for assaulting his girlfriend when she confronted him about text messages from another female.
Gary Alan McKendry (24), of Heronshaw, Bushmills, pleaded guilty to assaulting his then partner during a bedroom incident on April Fool’s Day this year after a night out in Ballymoney.
A prosecutor told Coleraine Magistrates Court on Friday that during the early hours of April 1 this year his partner saw a text message from another woman on McKendry’s phone and the defendant then pushed her violently off a bed causing her to hit her head on a door frame.
The defendant told police he had been struck with the mobile phone by his girlfriend as he slept and claimed the assault was a “split second reaction” whilst waking.
Defence barrister Michael Smyth said McKendry accepted messages were found on his phone from another woman “he had formed a relationship with” and had not told his girlfriend.
The lawyer said it was accepted the defendant’s girlfriend confronted McKendry and struck him with the phone as he slept and Mr Smyth said the assault by the defendant was an “over-reaction”.
District Judge Liam McNally said it was the fourth time McKendry had appeared in court for assaulting his then partners and on two occasions he had been given jail terms but the Appeal Court “gave him a chance”.
The judge noted McKendry was in breach of a suspended sentence for the latest assault and added: “In my view you are an absolute danger to any female who is in your company”.
Judge McNally activated a suspended four month jail term and added on five months for the new offence making a total of nine months in prison and also imposed a three year restraining order banning the defendant from contacting, harassing or pestering the victim.
Michael Smyth said McKendry wished to appeal the sentence because he wanted to attend a family wedding in early September and although the first available County Court for the appeal is also on the date of the wedding he hoped to get the hearing moved.
Judge McNally said he was reluctant to release the defendant on bail and said if the County Court had been sitting any earlier he would not have released him.
Freeing McKendry on £500 bail the judge asked if the defendant was in a relationship at the moment and Mr Smyth said he wasn’t.
As part of his bail conditions, the judge said McKendry is not to enter into a relationship with a woman without disclosing to her his criminal record for assaulting females.