'Berserk' boyfriend assaulted partner with Xbox

'Berserk' boyfriend assaulted partner with Xbox

The case was heard at Banbridge Magistrates' Court, sitting in Newry Courthouse.

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Wednesday 6 July 2022 8:26

A MAN who punched and hit his partner with his malfunctioning Xbox has been handed a prison sentence.

Michael Yeo, 30, of Banbridge Road, Loughbrickland, was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault, criminal damage and possession of an offensive weapon with intent, namely an Xbox.

The court heard that shortly after midnight on 9 March this year, shortly after midnight, the victim's father called police after receiving a text from his daughter saying she had been assaulted by her boyfriend who was going berserk.

Yeo had been drinking and the pair had got in an argument. Initially it had been a minor disagreement but, because of Yeo's past history, the victim was frightened of him. She tried to leave the kitchen, where the row had been taking police, and he grabbed her by the neck and punched her in the area around her right ear, causing her bruising and swelling.

Yeo had then ordered her to drive him to Belfast, with a further row taking place there. He had been experiencing issues with his Xbox games console and brought it back with him to their home in Lawrencetown, with Yeo continuing to be violent throughout the journey.

When they got back to Lawrencetown, the Xbox still wouldn't work and the victim, to protect herself from his anger, put her hands on her head and curled up in a ball as he dropped the Xbox on the back of her head.

She managed to get back out to the car at which point she texted her father to get him to call the police.

In addition to the significant bruises and soft tissue injuries she suffered, there was damage to three doors in the property as well as a light switch.

An application was made by the prosecution for the destruction of the Xbox, as it had been used as a weapon. Yeo gave a no comment interview to police but bristled at the suggestion of watching back some police footage relating to his then partner, saying he didn't want to see her hurt, while denying he was responsible for hurting her.

Defence counsel Richard Monteith pointed out Yeo had been custody since the date of the offence and had served the "effective equivalent of a seven month sentence".

Mr Monteith conceded Yeo had "similar domestic matters on his record, which were with his mother. It could be said to do it with your mother is even more appalling, but with the passage of time he and his mother are on good terms.

"Those matters ended in 2016 and since then his record doesn't really trouble the court.

"Upon his release he would go to reside with his mother and try to get his life back on track. He recognises this relationship is over."

Commenting ahead of passing sentence, District Judge Eamonn King said: "It was a nasty and prolonged incident involving someone with whom he was in a relationship and that's compounded by the fact he has a record for similar behaviour in the past and the unfortunate victim of his conduct on those occasions was his mother.

"This man needs to have a long, hard look at himself and think, what is the root cause of his conduct towards women in certain circumstances, to behave in the way he does.

"If he continues in that violence he will just face longer and longer prison sentences. If there is a trigger such as alcohol or drugs then that is something he can address to avoid a repetition of this disgraceful conduct."

Judge King then imposed an eight month prison sentence, largely already served by Yeo while on remand,while a restraining order of two years was imposed in favour of the victim, while the request to destroy the Xbox was approved.

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