An Ashmont man has been sentenced to two years’ jail after he tried to strangle his heavily pregnant girlfriend.
The 33-year-old pleaded guilty to attempted choke or strangle, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and intimidation, all of which occurred during a violent incident on August 6 last year.
The court heard the man and his partner had been in an on-and-off relationship for 19 years and had five children together when he punched her multiple times in the face and head.
He then stood over her, dragged her off the bed and banged her head against the floor a number of times.
The victim told him “if you punch me in the belly, you’ll kill it and get done for murder”, after which he proceeded to punch her in the stomach.
District Court judge Gordon Lerve described the incident as “a particularly low and despicable act”.
“Not content with that, he then put his hands around her throat and proceeded to keep those hands there until the complainant was struggling to breathe," Judge Lerve said.
"This was a sustained assault and the agreed facts say that this happened in the presence of a child.”
The victim was left with a bleeding lip, a bruised neck and a bloodshot eye.
Public defender Michael King conceded his client’s actions were abhorrent but insisted they were very much out of character for him.
"I’m not going to sugar coat this by calling it anything other than ugly – it was a very ugly, awful domestic violence incident,” Mr King said.
Mr King also successfully argued his client had reduced moral culpability for his actions given his traumatic childhood, during which his father injected him with speed at 11-years-old, leaving him with Hepatitis C.
When he was called to give evidence, the offender said he had apologised to his victim “100 times” since the incident.
"I was just in rage – the ice had taken over – I had never felt like that in my whole life,” he said.
"I’m going to keep off the drugs, I’m going to look after my family like I should have been and teach my kids to do the right thing in life.”
Judge Lerve questioned his sincerity.
"Despite the fact she was heavily pregnant, you punched her in the stomach. And you still feel a lot of regret about, that do you?" The judge asked.
“How can I be confident you’re not going to belt her up the next time something goes wrong?"
"We’ve been on and off for 19 years and it’s the first time it’s happened – it’s never going to happen again and that's why I'm getting help,” the offender replied.
He was given a non-parole period of 13 months’ jail.
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