Debt problem led to attack on partner

PUBLISHED: 14:31 03 May 2007 | UPDATED: 12:25 04 May 2010

AN UNEMPLOYED father of six, whose family lost hundreds of pounds when the Farepak Christmas hamper company crashed, attacked his partner after he drank too much. John Smith got into debt when he had to pay out again to provide Christmas festivities for h

AN UNEMPLOYED father of six, whose family lost hundreds of pounds when the Farepak Christmas hamper company crashed, attacked his partner after he drank too much.

John Smith got into debt when he had to pay out again to provide Christmas festivities for his family, and bailiffs were called in.

"He resorted to drinking at home rather more than he should have done," solicitor Michael Judkins told Ely magistrates.

On Easter Sunday Smith was "a bit drunk" when his partner Lorraine Hart went to bingo, and continued to drink when she was out, said prosecutor Delia Matthews.

When Ms Hart returned to their home in York Road, Sutton, Smith locked her out, and only opened the door when the children started to cry.

Smith shouted at Ms Hart, telling her she must sleep downstairs. When he picked up the end of the sofa, Ms Hart decided to collect up the children and leave.

Smith grabbed her by the arm, slapped her face, and pulled her hair. The children were crying and screaming, and Ms Hart went to a friend's house to call the police.

The couple's 20-year relationship had been strong, and earlier in the day Smith had cooked a roast lunch for the family, said Mr Judkins.

Smith was concerned about the family debt, he had not worked for about a year, and had been unable to take up a job as a refuse collector.

Since the incident, Smith had been living with his parents in Ely, and had suffered an anxiety attack and nervous breakdown. He had been found laying on the floor of his parents' home, clutching a picture of his children. A doctor had prescribed anti-depressants, and Smith had been referred for alcohol advice.

"He knows the court will take a dim view of his inexcusable behaviour," said Mr Judkins. "His problems with drink and depression are being dealt with."

Sentencing was adjourned until May 17, and he was given conditional bail.

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