Man hit woman ‘like rhino’ in row over cup of tea

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A MAN who attacked his long-term girlfriend “like a rhino” launched the assault after she failed to make him a cup of tea, a court heard.

Darren Atkinson told police that he was furious when his partner Claire Hayes made herself the drink without asking him if he wanted one.

Prosecutor Neil Coxon told Sheffield Crown Court: “He accused her of being selfish. She told him not to be childish and make his own tea.”

Atkinson, 37, admitted assaulting Miss Hayes, 34, and causing actual bodily harm at the home they used to share in Goodwin Crescent, Swinton, near Rotherham.

He gave her an uppercut to the nose and she fell backwards causing him to fall on top of her. He headbutted her in the face but denied kicking or stamping on her.

The attack happened on the morning of Saturday, October 8 last year in front of the couple’s two children. A neighbour rang the police on hearing the commotion.

Atkinson told officers: “I have had a bit of a free for all. She made a cup of tea for herself and nobody else. She went for me and scratched my face and it ended up with us fighting.”

Atkinson has 12 previous convictions, including a conviction for assault in 1995, but had largely kept out of trouble for 10 years.

Alison Dorrell, defending, said he had served the equivalent of 12 months in prison as he had been remanded in custody since court proceedings began on October 10 at Rotherham Magistrates’ Court.

Judge Michael Murphy said if he had been dealing with him four months ago he would have imposed an immediate jail term but he had already served 121 days in prison.

The judge told Atkinson: “You really ought to look at yourself. If you can do this to a woman because of an argument over a cup of tea what are you capable of if there’s a serious dispute?”

Atkinson was given a two-year community order and was ordered to complete an integrated domestic abuse programme.

He was also given a restraining order preventing him from contacting his former partner.