A dad-to-be repeatedly punched his pregnant girlfriend’s stomach and pulled out chunks of her hair after a hypothetical discussion about who might get custody of their unborn child.
Mark Cottrell, 32, savagely beat his girlfriend Hayley Dearden and threatened to stab her three year old daughter while she was in the house during a fit of rage.
He told his now ex-partner he would ‘punch that baby out of you’ and ‘swung’ her around the room by her hair, clumps of which were found to be ripped out of her scalp, a court heard.
During the incident, which happened at Hayley’s home in Manchester in October last year, Cottrell produced a knife and asked her to stab him with it before threatening to stab himself.
He forced his girlfriend to sleep next to him overnight and claimed he couldn’t remember what happened the next day when she tried to dump him.
Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, heard Cottrell had a ‘dreadful history’ of violence against women and said he had been drinking gin on the night he launched the attack.
His previous convictions include assault, Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) and four offences of battery, all against ex-partners.
Defending, barrister Paul Hodgkinson argued his client had a difficult childhood and was willing to change.
But 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.’
Cottrell, who pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, was sentenced to 26 months in prison.
He was also given a five year restraining order banning him from contacting Miss Dearden, who has since given birth to a healthy baby girl.