A 33-year-old man who choked his pregnant girlfriend during an attack over the Christmas period has been jailed for 18 months.
The injured woman, who was due to give birth today, had to attend a maternity ward for a check-up in the aftermath of the attack, which occurred in the early hours of Boxing Day.
Belfast Crown Court heard that Ian Cochrane, a bricklayer of no fixed abode, was on bail for a previous attack on the same woman when he attacked her again last Christmas.
A prosecutor told Judge David McFarland that the couple were in an ‘on and off’ relationship, and at the time of the attack, she was four-and-a-half months pregnant with his child.
The prosecutor said they spent Christmas Day together but argued throughout the day, and that in the early hours of Boxing Day, another argument occurred in her house.
Cochrane, who had been drinking, checked her phone and accused her of cheating.
Saying “things then got physical”, the prosecutor said Cochrane grabbed her by the neck and started choking her to the point where her legs gave way.
She managed to get to her front door and shout outside for help, but Cochrane pulled her back inside, flung her on a chair in the kitchen and bit her hand. She then lifted a knife, and in self-defence she cut his arm.
Police attended the scene and while Cochrane was arrested, his pregnant partner attended hospital, where she was treated for minor injuries.
Cochrane later pleaded guilty to attacking his partner and to a charge of attempting choking with intent.
The prosecutor said that the woman declined to make a victim impact statement and does not seek a restraining order. Saying she was “in labour as we speak”, the prosecutor revealed she has said ‘when he does not have a drink on board, he’s fine’.
Cochrane’s barrister said he has fully accepted his actions were “abhorrent”, and that he “put his hands around her throat and caused injury to her”.
She said that due to his alcohol consumption on Christmas Day, Cochrane had “quite a limited memory of events”, but that he didn’t seek to excuse his behaviour due to drink.
Cochrane has since expressed shame for his behaviour, she said, adding that instead of being at the birth of his baby, he was in court.
“This is something he will have to live with for the rest of his life,” she told the court, adding that Cochrane and the injured party “are in contact and are on amicable terms”.
Cochrane will serve nine months of his sentence in prison and nine months on licence.