A 20-year-old man who punched his former pregnant girlfriend in the stomach telling her “you should probably have a miscarriage now”, yesterday admitted assaulting her.
However, Richard Joseph Fullerton was cleared of the more serious charge of assaulting her with intent to procure a miscarriage after the prosecution offered no further evidence.
Antrim Crown Court Judge Desmond Marrinan QC told Fullerton that while what happened between them was possibly a mistake, Fullerton had certainly “made a mistake in assaulting a young girl when pregnant, which I take to be a very serious matter”.
Judge Marrinan said, however, the fact that the “child was born healthy and well is the most important matter in this case”.
Initially yesterday, Fullerton – with an address in Leckagh Drive, Magherafelt – went on trial denying two charges: common assault between December 2009 and February 1, 2010; and, secondly, with intent to procure the miscarriage of a woman, unlawfully using an instrument, or other means, namely a blow to her stomach.
However, after a taped police interview from the girl was played to the court, defence QC John Kearney asked for Fullerton to be re-arraigned on the assault charge.
Following his plea of guilty, prosecutor Robin Steer told the jury and Judge Marrinan that they would be offering no further evidence on the second count. In the circumstances, the judge directed the jury to find him guilty by confession on count one, but to acquit him of the more serious second count.
In the earlier taped interview, the then teenage girl said that after the attack she thought it was “really sad” as she did not think he would do anything like that.
Asked why she had been punched, she said it was because Fullerton “didn’t want me to have the baby”.
Fullerton will be sentenced next month.
Following Fullerton’s conviction for attacking her while pregnant, his former girlfriend said she was “happy it has now come to an end”.
The young woman, who did not want to be named, said that is all she wanted so that she and her family “can put this behind us and get on with our lives”.