A CONTROLLING boyfriend who spat in his girlfriend’s face and assaulted her twice in two days has narrowly avoided an immediate prison term.
Magistrates told Peter Birkett they had given jail “very serious consideration” before opting to give him one last chance via a suspended prison sentence.
Wigan Magistrates’ Court heard how the boozing 41-year-old spat in Chelsea Rampling’s face twice on August 7 after she innocently asked a DJ to play her favourite song.
Mike Ardern, prosecuting, told how Birkett, who admitted that assault from the start, continued to deny a second assault committed the following day.
He was, however, convicted of the second assault last month after a trial.
The court heard how he turned up at Ms Rampling’s Wigan home drunk on August 8.
When the victim told him that she wanted her belongings back and that their three-month relationship was over, he grabbed her by the hair before attempting to grab her by the throat.
He only released his grip when Ms Rampling’s dog jumped up at him to defend her.
In a police interview, Birkett, of Abbey Road, Haydock, claimed that the second assault had been fabricated by Ms Rampling.
Bob Topping, defending, admitted that these were “serious and unpleasant matters”.
But he argued that Birkett had the capacity to stay out of trouble and would benefit more from a suspended sentence and an alcohol treatment requirement.
He asked Magistrates: “Do you achieve a short-term fix by locking him up now or do you take a long-term view by asking him to work with the probation service on this?”
Justices handed Birkett a 16-week jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered him to pay £100 compensation to his victim and £160 towards court costs.
They also ordered him to complete a two-year supervision requirement, a community domestic violence programme and an alcohol treatment requirement.