Published: 17:00, 25 April 2014
A brute who kneed his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach and fractured her eye socket has walked free.
Jon Gartland was told by a judge he believed he had learnt a salutary lesson after spending five months in custody and said he needed assistance with his "compulsive and impulsive behaviour".
The 26-year-old former bricklayer was living with Kerrie Devine and her two children in Chatham, having started a relationship in September 2012.
Maidstone Crown Court heard there had already been some abuse of the victim when he became violent during a row over money on June 26 last year.
Gartland "kicked off" after three-and-a-half months pregnant Miss Devine told him she was tired of his behaviour.
He punched her in the left eye, pulled her hair, dragged her to the floor and kicked her in the back before kneeing her in the abdomen.
"She was not just pregnant, she was pregnant by three-and-a-half months with your child. One can only imagine her terror..." - recorder Tom Forster
Prosecutor Mary Jacobson said Miss Devine shouted "The baby, the baby", but Gartland coldly told her it did not matter.
She eventually managed to get away and called police. She was treated in hospital and then transferred to the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.
Her eye socket was fractured but a consultant advised her not to have an operation because of her pregnancy.
Miss Jacobson said the baby was born without any ill effects.
Gartland, of Cordelia Crescent, Rochester, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Recorder Tom Forster suspended a 20 months' imprisonment for two years, despite Danny Robinson, defending, telling him: "It is clearly an immediate prison sentence."
The judge also imposed 80 hours' unpaid work against a probation service recommendation that Gartland, who has a back condition, was unsuitable.
Under "stringent conditions", he will have to attend a programme and be under a tagged curfew from 9pm to 7am for six months.
Recorder Forster told Gartland the violence was "an unmitigated disgrace".
He added: "She was not just pregnant, she was pregnant by three-and-a-half months with your child. One can only imagine her terror.
"In my judgement you show no remorse whatsoever. I suggest you have a lack of insight. You accept you were abusing drugs. To quote you, you turned into a not very nice person.
"Probation take the view you have a controlling nature. This course of violence suggests an escalation in offending.
"You assaulted a vulnerable young woman who was pregnant. Ordinarily it would be 20 months imprisonment. The question is: Can I suspend it? I have thought about it anxiously.
"I am persuaded to do so because you have spent five months in custody. You have learnt a salutary lesson."
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