Teen strangles, kicks pregnant girlfriend in stomach
A TEENAGER has avoided time in a detention centre after a disturbing attack on his pregnant girlfriend in which he strangled, punched, and kicked her in the stomach.
Ipswich Children's Court heard the 17-year-old was known for his anger issues and acts of violence.
Now aged 18, he went before Judge Bernard Porter QC for sentence after pleading guilty to Crown prosecution charges of strangulation/choking when in a domestic relationship in July 2020; and three charges of committing common assault domestic violence offences.
The maximum penalty for a juvenile charged with this strangulation/choking offence is a 3 ½ year detention order.
Prosecutor Jessica Beckman said the Crown sought a supervised probation order of 15-18 months for his offences.
Defence barrister Daniel Boddice made written submissions on penalty, saying in court that he agreed with the Crown's assessment.
"Why would I not impose two years (the maximum under Youth Justice legislation), Judge Porter queried.
"I err on the side of caution and give him longer supervision."
Mr Boddice said that while he could not oppose that, the charges could have been dealt with in the Ipswich Magistrates Court with lesser maximum penalties.
"I accept it is serious offending," Mr Boddice said.
Judge Porter made it clear he was not impressed by such a violent attack on a young woman.
He said the offender was 17 and his pregnant girlfriend aged 21 when he stayed over at her house.
He was drinking alcohol and the pair had an argument.
"It started in a childish and stupid way over whether she was texting another boyfriend," Judge Porter said.
"It provoked your anger and you threatened to kill her, choke her.
"For 2 ½ minutes, you did so."
Judge Porter said the offender made comments to the woman to increase her fear.
When her grandmother tried to intervene, the 17-year-old yelled he would kill the kids and burn their house down.
The court heard he again squeezed the pregnant woman's throat, kicked her in the stomach, and punched her in the face.
Judge Porter said the assault only ended when police arrived.
He said the woman was four weeks pregnant.
"The violence you showed this young woman is very serious and disturbing," Judge Porter said.
He warned the offender that he did contemplate a detention order but a report made by the youth justice officer "saved the day" in what she had to say about his difficulties with violence as a young man.
However, Judge Porter expressed concern that a pre-sentence report on the offender had not been ordered.
He said it was a mistake on the part of the Crown prosecution and the defence to simply assume a detention order would not be a consideration by the judge in such a case of domestic violence.
"I believe this case was close to requiring a detention order. It went very close, of sufficient seriousness to justify," Judge Porter said.
"He has serious issues with managing violence."
Judge Porter sentenced the 18-year-old to a two-year probation order, saying the supervision would give youth justice officers sufficient time to help him.
No conviction was recorded.