For 24-hour support in Queensland phone DVConnect on 1800 811 811, MensLine on 1800 600 636 or the national hotline 1800RESPECT.
For 24-hour support in Queensland phone DVConnect on 1800 811 811, MensLine on 1800 600 636 or the national hotline 1800RESPECT.

‘Our courts are awash with choking cases’: Judge Dick

Bruised, bloody and with a gash to her eye, a Mackay mother fled to her neighbour's home wearing only a towel.

It was a desperate cry for help after enduring a prolonged, vicious beating from her partner, the father of their children aged two and four, who also witnessed the attack.

The 31-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, faced Mackay District Court on Friday on domestic violence related charges.

These included two counts of common assault and one count each of choking and assault causing bodily harm.

Crown prosecutor Tiffany Lawrence said the attack began in the lounge room at their Ooralea home on April 15, 2020.

She said he began hitting the 21-year-old mother's head with a closed fist and open hand before grabbing her hair and throwing her to the floor.

The man pushed his partner back down repeatedly as she tried to crawl away.

She made it to the front door but tripped over, returning inside the home "out of fear" where she was then choked.

"(Her partner) told her, 'I know you can't breathe' and continued while she gasped for air," Ms Lawrence said.

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The court heard he then let go only to snap a piece of timber into a weapon and strike her head - cutting her eye.

"(He) then put the timber down and started hitting her with his hands yelling, 'I'll f**king kill you, I'll smash your face in if you call the cops. I'll snap your neck c**t. I'll cave your head in'," Ms Lawrence said.

"(She) was scared she was going to die.

"She suffered bruising, swelling and cuts to her face, neck and arms."

Ms Lawrence said he then demanded she transfer him money but beat her again after complaining it was taking too long.

"She then ran from the house only wearing a towel and banged on a neighbour's door screaming for help," she said.

Ms Lawrence said the man expressed remorse when he was arrested on April 20, five days after the attack.

He told police he could only remember the woman bleeding.

But the court heard this was not his first violent outburst, with him previously beating up a man who refused to give him a cigarette and taking part in a group bashing of a victim who required surgery and a 12-day hospital stay.

Defence barrister Scott McLennan, instructed by Taylors Solicitors, said his client had a "very dysfunctional" childhood including violent stepfathers.

Mr McLennan said his mother was alcoholic, had undiagnosed bipolar at the time and would exert "excessive physical discipline".

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He said his client entered the foster care system at 13, and in his adult life turned to heroin.

Mr McLennan said at the time of the assault, the family was in "financial distress" compounded by the couple's premature child which forced the father to stop work.

He said the father, who had spent 291 days in pre-sentence custody, had found the church and contacted Relationships Australia and Family First.

Judge Julie Dick told him, while she acknowledged there were stressful circumstances and that there were steps towards rehabilitation, the beating did not end by his own volition.

"Choking laws came in a couple of years ago because research showed choking your partner was what preceded nearly every murder of a domestic partner," Judge Dick said.

"There's a fine line between hurting and killing.

"To be perfectly frank with you, our courts are awash with choking cases.

"It's a shame you weren't feeling more remorseful at the time of your offences."

Pleading guilty to all four counts, the man was sentenced to three years jail with parole release on April 20.

Judge Dick suggested the man find a GP for a mental health care plan.

For 24-hour support in Queensland phone DVConnect on 1800 811 811, MensLine on 1800 600 636 or the national hotline 1800RESPECT.



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