Defendant Andrew Sean Duffy wept in the Royal Court as details of three violent attacks on the woman, which culminated in a sustained assault and him allegedly trying to saw her hair off with a butter knife, were read out.
The ‘petrified’ victim ran screaming from the home to a neighbour’s house after the last assault in April this year and asked them to call the police, it was heard. Minutes later three officers arrived at the scene.
But Duffy (49), an alcoholic who had admitted to drinking heavily on the day, was aggressive towards the officers in the doorway of the property before grabbing two knives – one with an ‘eight to ten inch blade’. He also threatened the officers, in front of nearby children, by saying he had ‘two guns’. Replica firearms were found in the home.
The court heard that a neighbour said his daughter who witnessed the incident was ‘visibly scared’.
Crown Advocate Emma Hollywood, prosecuting, said: ‘As the defendant moves into the hallway he walked towards PC Hobson and aggressively smashed the knife blades together while staring at him.
‘PC Hobson, afraid the defendant was going to stab him, withdrew from the property. The defendant walked quickly out of the house towards the police officers. He lifted the large knife up and pointed it towards the officers and shouted words to the effect of “f*** off”. He then pointed the knife to the officers saying “I am going to kill you”.
PC Hobson said in a statement: ‘I was under no illusion that his intention was to use the knives to attack us.’
Duffy, from Birkenhead, Merseyside, pleaded guilty to two counts of common assault, one count of grave and criminal assault and one count of affray and was jailed for 30 months. He also had a restraining order imposed on him and was banned from most licensed premises for 12 months upon his release from jail. Advocate Jeremy Heywood, defending, said his client denied trying to cut the woman’s hair with the knife.
Outlining the case, Crown Advocate Hollywood said the defendant had assaulted his partner of two years by stamping on her foot the day before following an argument over loud music. Then on the morning of the most serious assault on 22 April Duffy ‘cornered the victim in the home, punched her in the arms and spat at her after she told him she was booking him a flight back to Liverpool’.
Later that day the defendant, who had been drinking, returned to the family home and punched her in the back of her head after demanding she give him £300 because he had ‘blown £600 gambling’.
After the first punch, the court heard, Duffy kicked the victim in the buttock before unleashing a volley of punches to her head, arms, back and kidneys.
The victim suffered serious bruising to her head, ribs, arms and toe.
Advocate Heywood said his client’s life had fallen apart since he lost his second wife to ovarian cancer.
‘He was her primary carer and the carer of their two children. The loss of his wife was a hammer blow. It is no understatement to say his life collapsed. He turned to the false friend of alcohol to get him through… he lost his job.’
Advocate Heywood said once his client, who has no previous convictions, met his most recent partner in 2015 his life was on an upward trajectory. He moved to Jersey to be with her but, the Advocate said, found it difficult to get a job and became isolated and turned to drink.
Deputy Bailiff Tim Le Cocq said the court considered increasing the sentence beyond that moved for by the Crown but decided against such a move after hearing from the defendant’s counsel.