A man who violently gouged his partner in the eyes and stomped repeatedly on her stomach while she was pregnant has been sentenced to home detention.
George Francis Donnelly, 25, appeared in the Hutt Valley District Court this afternoon on charges relating to the two incidents, which happened late last year.
The first attack was in August 2020, while he and the victim were at home in Lower Hutt.
She had arrived home and the pair got into an argument, Judge Michael Mika said.
Donnelly pinned the victim to a wall with his forearm then moved his hands to the side of her head, digging his fingers into her temples before pushing his thumbs into her eyes.
When the victim tried to get away, he grabbed her cheeks and squeezed them hard before forcing her head into the wall and pushing her to the ground.
He dragged her into the lounge and, while screaming at her, pushed his fingers into her eyes again, causing them to bleed, Judge Mika said.
He also kicked and punched her to the head, stomach and legs.
Donnelly was arrested the next day after the victim managed to escape out of a window of the house with her two children.
The other attack happened in October, while the victim was 10 weeks pregnant.
She bent over to pick up a rubbish bag, and Donnelly kicked her in the back and stomped on her. Later that day as she lay on the couch, he stood over her and stomped on her stomach seven or eight times, Judge Mika said.
Donnelly has previous convictions for dishonesty, drugs, and driving-related offences, as well as two prior convictions for male assaults female.
One of those convictions, in 2018, related to the same victim.
According to an impact statement provided to the court, the victim wanted to work with Donnelly to care for their children. She said she and the pastor of their church would support him being sentenced to home detention.
Judge Mika said aggravating factors included the victim's vulnerability in her pregnant state, the attacks to her head, his previous offending against her, and the fact it was family violence.
"Extreme harm was caused both physically and psychologically," he said.
Mitigating features included Donnelly's guilty plea, his remorse and attendance at a Restorative Justice conference, and a cultural report "which outlines difficulties that you have had with your upbringing".
Taking into account all factors, Judge Mike sentenced Donnelly to 12 months of home detention, with 12 months of post-release conditions.
He also imposed a protection order for the victim and her two children, and ordered that Donnelly not contact the victim without written approval from a probation officer.
If you're in danger NOW:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you
• Run outside and head for where there are other people
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you
• Take the children with you
• Don't stop to get anything else
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay
Where to go for help or more information:
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisisline operates 24/7 - 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and their children. Crisisline 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence
• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz