AN evening of drinking with friends ended violently as a 47-year-old Carlisle man assaulted his partner, biting her face, a court heard.

Magistrates sitting at the city’s Rickergate court heard that Simon Clarke and the victim were partners and had lived together for five years.

But on the night of the assault they fell out after arriving home.

The row became violent as the woman stood by a door enjoying a cigarette, magistrates were told. Clarke, of Richardson Street, Denton Holme, admitted an assault causing actual bodily harm.

George Shelley, prosecuting, said that the assault happened at around 9pm on November 28 last year. The woman was standing at the back door with a cup of tea when the defendant approached her.

After making an accusation about her behaviour, he bit her to the cheek. “She responded by hitting him over the head with a cup of tea,” said the lawyer. Witnesses saw the two hitting each other.

She was bleeding and her nose was swollen. The woman was checked over, but after an X-ray medics concluded that were no obvious fractures.

When he was interviewed by the police, Clarke denied punching the woman or biting her,  and said that it was the woman who had in fact been the aggressor. He admitted throwing a broom aggressively and this accidentally hit the woman.

He responded to further questions by saying "no comment."

Clarke, of Richardson Street, Denton Holme, had no relevant previous convictions.

Mr Shelley added that in early December, the victim had withdrawn her complaint, though he she had confirmed that the statement she gave to the police was accurate.

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Andrew Gurney, defending, said the defendant’s previous conviction had been one for being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle, though the court had accepted he had simply slept in his car and he kept his licence.

The lawyer said: “This is the first time he has come before the court for a domestic violence matter or any violence. They have had a good relationship and were very happy.

“On this evening, they had been out with friends, and they all been drinking excessively.” The violence had escalated while he and his partner were in close proximity, said Mr Gurney.

The lawyer continued: “He is appalled by what happened that night and by his behaviour.  He is truly remorseful.”

A hard-working man, Clarke ran his own logistics company and despite the circumstances he continued to support his family. Though bail conditions meant his partner could not longer work at his firm, he had continued to pay her.

Mr Gurney added: “He understands that he has done wrong and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.”

Magistrates said that the assault had been impulsive and spontaneous, but the defendant had shown clear and strong remorse. Clarke was given a 12-month community order, with 120 hours of unpaid work and 30 rehabilitation activity days.

He must also pay £85 costs and a £95 victim surcharge. There was no order for compensation.

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