Jail for Burnley dad who broke girlfriend’s nose and threw her down stairs

John Swindlehurst. (s)
John Swindlehurst. (s)

A BRUTAL father-of-two who broke his girlfriend’s nose, threw her downstairs and smashed her arm, has been jailed for 18 months.

John Swindlehurst (39) attacked terrified Emma Loughlin for the second time, last December 23rd, leaving her in pain. But, instead of showing her sympathy, he blamed her for the violence and kept her at home until she had the courage to escape from him and go to hospital. He then accused her of making it all up just to ruin his Christmas, Burnley Crown Court heard.

The hearing was told Swindlehurst had become increasingly violent towards Miss Loughlin (34) during their two-year relationship, even though he had no convictions for violence on his record of 53 offences.

The defendant, of Dalton Street, Burnley, had admitted assault causing actual bodily harm, last May, and inflicting grievous bodily harm, last December.

Miss Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said Swindlehurst punched Miss Loughlin in the nose. She sought medical help. Her nose was deviated to the left, but she never attended for specialist treatment.

On December 23rd, the victim returned home from work at 5-30 p.m. The defendant was at the house with a friend and there was a confrontation, simply because Miss Loughlin had not shut a door. She went upstairs out of the way.

The friend left and Swindlehurst shouted up: “Get here. Are you trying to show me up?” He demanded she go downstairs, she refused and he ran up, grabbed her by the face and dug his nails into her skin as she pleaded with him to stop. He then let go and pushed her down the uncarpeted stairs. She fell head first and landed at the bottom, feeling instant pain to her left arm. Miss Loughlin told Swindlehusrt she was in pain but he told her: “Look what you made me do.”

Miss Statham said he dragged her by her hair into the lounge, she told him again she was in pain and the defendant then jabbed the dog with a baseball bat and asked it: “Do you want some?”

Miss Loughlin stayed at the house for the next two hours while Swindlehurst continued to blame her for his behaviour and ignored all her complaints about her arm. The victim told him she wanted to go to hospital, but the defendant told her there was nothing wrong with her. Eventually he let her go, but did not go with her and told her to ring him when she found out what was wrong.

The prosecutor said Miss Loughlin’s left wrist was fractured and was put in plaster. She returned to Swindlehurst’s house, but he told her to “do one”, accused her of ruining Christmas and went out for the night and left her there. On Christmas Eve, the victim told the defendant she was going to leave before he ended up killing her. He replied: “Yes, I probably will.” She went to her mother’s, police were called and Swindlehurst was arrested on Christmas Day. He claimed to police the victim was making up the allegations out of jealousy and was just trying to spoil Christmas.

Mr Simon Gurney (defending) said the offences were despicable and he was ashamed. The defendant’s father died in 2009, which followed the death of his mother and brother and he began abusing amphetamine and spiralling out of control.

Swindlehurst had been having mood swings, was irritable and his GP prescribed anti-depressants. The barrister added: “He expresses a high level of motivation to address his drug use and not to repeat the mistakes he has made.”

Sentencing, Recorder Anthony Cross (QC), who said Swindlehurst had a terrible record, said he did not accept his remorse was genuine, as a real man would have owned up at the police station and said he needed help then.

The judge continued: “The message must go out that brutal men cannot beat defenceless women up. There is no excuse for it.”