A dad-to-be who repeatedly hit his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach after they had a hypothetical discussion about who might get custody of their unborn baby has been jailed.
Mark Cottrell, 32, became irate and savagely beat Hayley Dearden, saying: ‘I’m going to punch that baby out of you.’
He dragged her by the hair, threatening to stab her as well as her three-year-old daughter, and kill their dog.
Eventually he took a knife and said he would stab himself instead.
Miss Dearden suffered heavy bruising and clumps of hair were found to be to have been ripped out of her scalp. She subsequently ended her relationship with Cottrell and is thought to have since given birth to a healthy girl.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Cottrell, of Sale, Greater Manchester was jailed for 26 months after he admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He claimed he could not remember the incident as he had been drunk on gin.
The court heard the couple had met online and the incident occurred on October 28 last year whilst Cottrell was at Miss Dearden’s home. Prosecutor James Preece said: ‘She was pregnant with the defendant’s child and that evening he had been drinking gin.
‘An argument began over who would have custody were the two to split up. The defendant became angry and ran at the complainant, punched her in the arm, it was after that that the defendant apologised, and the defendant and the complainant went upstairs to the bedroom.
‘But once they were upstairs he became angry with the dog. The defendant then grabbed the complainant’s hair and swung her around the room by the hair causing her to fall to the floor.
‘The defendant took the complainant’s phone off her. She managed to get up and go into the corner of the room but he ran at her and said ‘I’m going to punch that baby out of you’ then punched her in the stomach several times.
‘Her three-year-old daughter was in the house, a daughter from a previous relationship. This daughter started to cry, and the defendant said: ‘you better shut her up. I’m going to slit the dog’s throat, you and her.
‘She grabbed her daughter and ran downstairs to try to get out the house. He followed and told her to put her daughter back to bed. She went back inside to her bedroom, the defendant was lying on the bed he said, ‘Go and get a knife I want you to kill me’.
‘She refused, and he went and got a steak knife himself and held it to his own stomach and told her to push it in. He tried to pull her hand towards the knife, he went into the kitchen and scratched his own stomach with the knife.
‘It was after this that the defendant began to calm down. The next morning she told him the relationship was over.’
The court heard Cottrell had offences of common assault and ABH as well as four offences of battery, all against ex-partners on his record.
Defending barrister Paul Hodgkinson said: “This was a nasty offence and the defendant doesn’t shy away from that. There comes a point in everybody’s life were people can change, there is a possibility that change can be present.
‘His childhood was a difficult one, his mother left the family and he was brought up in a violent home. He is seeking medical attention.’
Judge Tina Landale told Cottrell: ‘The reality is you have not changed your ways – this is the third lady you have assaulted in a relationship. You have a dreadful history of using violence against women. You intended to cause more harm than you in fact did cause to Hayley Dearden.
‘You should know better than to commit acts of violence in front of a child when you yourself were a victim of violence as a child.’
As well as being jailed, Cottrell was also given a five year restraining order banning him from contacting Miss Dearden.