Burnley ex-soldier admits assaulting girlfriend

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

An ex-soldier, who attacked his mentally-ill girlfriend, claimed he felt more like a ”waiter and servant” than her partner, a court heard.

Christopher Cheetham was looking after the victim after he was made redundant last November and the pair argued over money. The 61-year-old, said to have found it hard to cope with how “demanding” she was, was drunk after meeting up with an Army friend and had lost his temper.

Burnley magistrates were told how the defendant, who served in the Armed Forces between 1974 and 1986, repeatedly punched her, in the incident last December 17th.

The victim didn’t want Cheetham prosecuted, but he had owned up at the police station and was sorry and tearful.

Mrs Alex Mann (prosecuting) said police were called to a domestic altercation. The defendant’s partner did not want to make a statement. Cheetham was arrested.

He was interviewed and said police had asked him to leave his home after a verbal-only altercation, he did, went back a short time later and was allowed in by the victim.

The defendant said he went to sleep downstairs and was woken up by his partner not long after. They rowed because he was drunk and he lost his temper and punched her in the stomach, head and arms.

Mrs Mann continued: "He was sorry about the incident. He is described as being tearful in interview and he said he was going to stay with his daughter instead. He did mention mental health, alcohol and financial issues.”

Miss Janet Sime (defending) said Cheetham had always been in work, but was laid off last November and had had no income.

The aggrieved suffered from quite serious mental health issues and was always very reliant on others. When he was working, her brother and neighbours cared for her, but since last November he had been doing it.

The solicitor added: "He has no training or experience of caring for somebody who has such difficulties. He’s found it very difficult to cope with how demanding she is.”

"Had he kept his mouth shut at the police station, he wouldn’t be here today. Nobody is more regretful than him as to what he has done to this relationship. It’s really ruined everybody’s Christmas and he is full of remorse for that.

"He has not taken a drink since that day. He has already been to Inspire (the alcohol treatment service ) and has also been to his GP. He doesn’t drink very often, but he says when he does he finds it very difficult to stop.

"He found looking after her very, very difficult indeed. He accepts his behaviour is completely out of order and he made admissions at the police station about his behaviour.”

The defendant, of Reed Street, Burnley, admitted assault by beating. He was bailed until February 12th for a pre-sentence report, on condition he does not contact the victim or go within 50 metres of her home.