Man’s ‘degrading’ assault on girlfriend

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A MAN who broke his girlfriend’s cheekbone in an assault in a toilet block has been jailed.

Dale Knappett, 28, of Mill Park Gardens, Mildenhall, kicked in a toilet door before assaulting the woman at an incident in a motel.

Knappett was sentenced to 18 months in prison at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday, with Judge John Holt calling the assault ‘degrading’.

The court heard how Claire Cheshire had been in a relationship with Knappett since September last year but had become increasingly concerned that he was becoming aggressive and violent.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, told the court that on May 16 the couple had gone to the Bird in Hand Motel in Beck Row where they began drinking and arguing.

When Miss Cheshire tried to get away from Knappett by going into the toilets, he followed her.

Knappett kicked the door of the cubicle off its hinges before assaulting Miss Cheshire, according to Mr Crimp.

The injuries inflicted on Miss Cheshire by Knappett – including a fractured cheekbone – required surgery. She has now made a full recovery.

Malcolm Plummer, mitigating, said Knappett believed that Miss Cheshire’s broken cheekbone had been caused by the door when he kicked it, rather than by the assault.

Mr Plummer said: “He does accept that it was a nasty injury caused by his actions.”

Knappett claimed Miss Cheshire was refusing to speak to him after they had argued and he kicked in the door.

Judge Holt said a a Probation Service report showed that Knappett had an established pattern of violence and the assault could not be considered in isolation.

Jailing Knappett for eight months, Judge Holt also granted a restraining order prohibiting Knappett from contacting Miss Cheshire or going within 200 metres of her home for the next three years.