Man jailed over 1997 violent attack that forced girlfriend to leap from balcony

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A judge jailed a violent offender yesterday nearly 16 years after his terrified teenage girlfriend jumped off a second floor balcony to escape from his jealous rage.

Leeds Crown Court heard Michael Patrick Holmes had subsequently failed to attend court to face justice for his attack on Tracey Coup in July 1997 during which she suffered not only injuries in his assault but further serious complications from her escape.

But he was later identified by authorities in America as a wanted person, was extradited to his native Eire and then brought back to the UK under a European arrest warrant.

Finally yesterday Holmes, 40, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm on Miss Coup in July 1997 and was sentenced to three years two months in prison with a further four months, to run consecutively, for failing to attend court.

Andrew Stranex prosecuting, said Holmes was 24 and Miss Coup 17 when they met in Birmingham, although she was originally from East Yorkshire.

He obtained a flat in Spalding Towers, Lincoln Green, Leeds in June 1997 and she moved in with him but there were problems between them.

On Friday night July 4 she was out socialising with a friend and when she returned home Holmes was angry about her seeing that man.

“He began a sustained assault on her, hitting and punching her on her stomach and back, dragging her by her hair, slapping her face and kicking her.

“He then got a broom handle and began assaulting her with it hitting her on her head, legs and body,” said Mr Stranex.

She said she had earlier seen a piece of wood in the flat and had thrown it over the balcony fearing he might use that. When Holmes left the flat she thought he had gone to get it and went out on to the balcony and locked the door from the outside.

When he returned saying: “You’re a dead person” she was so terrified that she jumped from the balcony.

She was distressed and bleeding.

When Holmes was arrested he denied assaulting her and claimed she was a “troubled individual” and the balcony jump was her latest suicide attempt.