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Stephen McIntyre convicted of assaulting woman

By Sean Axtell

Police have been criticised after a violent domestic abuser walked free from jail.

Judge James O'Mahoney rapped the force for failing the victim of Stephen McIntyre, who he had beaten, strangled, and threatened to kill.

When the woman tried fleeing the relationship, McIntyre's cruelty intensified into a violent game of cat and mouse, prosecutor Edmund Fowler told Canterbury Crown Court.

Stephen McIntyre
Stephen McIntyre

"He dragged her through the park by her hair and to a nearby Premier shop where he began to strangle her," he said.

"She was crying and he said 'I can stop you breathing any time I want'."

McIntyre, 25, then led the woman to a house where his behaviour became more sinister, Mr Fowler explained.

"She did not want to go there but she was told to get in and pushed down the stairs.

"McIntyre began to hit her - she curled up on the floor to protect herself," he said.

"When he went into the kitchen, she attempted to leave but was threatened with being kicked back down the stairs.

"McIntyre then called the woman's sister and told her he wanted to ask a few questions.

"He told the victim that every time her sister lied, he'd hit her.

"This defendant poses a danger to women in the future and my hands are tied as to what I'm able to do" - Judge James O'Mahoney

"He asked the sister if there were any men at the house when he wasn’t there and asked what drinking games had been played.

“He hit his victim after every answer and her sister could hear her crying in the background.”

McIntyre then swung a kitchen knife at the victim and blocked her windpipe.

She eventually managed able to escape the property during the sustained assault on November 3.

Mr Fowler told Judge O'Mahoney the attack was not the first.

In June of the same year the couple returned to the victim’s mother’s home after an evening drinking, when McIntyre attacked her.

McIntyre was arrested the same day and remanded in custody, where police and the Crown Prosecution Service charged him with three counts of assault.

Judge O'Mahoney vented his frustration at both authorities for not bringing tougher charges - assault carries a maximum six-month prison term.

Judge James O'Mahony (12240789)
Judge James O'Mahony (12240789)

“It’s a very serious matter of concern that someone who is a high risk has to be sentenced for charges that carry sentences of six months,” he said.

"This defendant poses a danger to women in the future and my hands are tied as to what I’m able to do. This is clear undercharging."

The court heard McIntyre has a history of violence, four counts of battery and one of harassment from 2007-18.

Visibly agitated, the judge gave police a piece of his mind after one officer failed to obtain a statement from the victim which could have potentially increased the court’s sentencing powers.

The judge had ordered a police officer sat inside his court last Monday to visit the victim the same day.

But both the police officer and statement failed to come before the judge on Wednesday.

Judge O'Mahoney described the police work as a "rank and file failure" then held his head in his hands as he recounted McIntyre's crimes.

He continued: "The victim wanted the court to know the content of her victim impact statement.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court
The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

"She has been let down greatly by the police."

The judge sentenced McIntyre to 21 weeks in prison - which he has already served on remand - and gave him with a restraining order.

McIntyre, of High Street in Ramsgate, could be seen smiling and gesturing victoriously before leaving the dock.

He was convicted of three counts of assault by beating and a charge of false imprisonment was left to lie on file.

Meanwhile, responding to the criticism of police, detective chief inspector Angie Chapman said: "Officers investigating the assault of a woman in Ramsgate in November 2018 made a number of attempts to obtain a victim impact statement to assist in the sentencing of her attacker Stephen McIntyre.

"Whilst it's not compulsory for victims to provide this type of statement our officers are obliged and will make every effort in order to try and obtain one as they give victims the opportunity to describe how the alleged offences have impacted them personally.

"Officers investigating the assault of a woman in Ramsgate made a number of attempts to obtain a victim impact statement to assist in the sentencing of her attacker Stephen McIntyre"- detective chief inspector Angie Chapman

"A judge will take these statements into consideration during sentencing.

"In this case, despite the victim initially declining to provide one to the officer, the judge asked if one could still be obtained in time for Mr McIntyre's sentencing on Wednesday 5 June after he had pleaded guilty to three counts of assault.

"Despite a number of attempts by officers to contact the victim and her family, to offer further opportunities in providing this statement, she could not be reached prior to sentencing.

"Mr McIntyre was sentenced to six months in prison on Wednesday 5 June.

"He is also subject to a restraining order, which prevents him from having any contact with the victim or her family member. If he does he risks further arrest.

"Regardless of whether a victim decides to provide a statement like this, tackling offences of this nature is a priority for Kent Police and our officers will carry out a thorough investigation to ensure offenders are put before the court."

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here

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