Man who launched violent attack on woman in her Northampton home on Christmas Day avoids jail sentence

Crown Court GV'
Crown Court GV'

A 31-year-old man who used a golf club to smash his way into a Northampton house on Christmas Day and then launched a violent attack on a woman inside has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Matthew Sweeney, of Harpole, kicked and punched the woman while she was in the floor after he had broken into the property in Wootton.

Northampton Crown Court heard the woman, who was inside the house with her six-month-old baby and her teenage cousin, was forced to seek refuge by locking herself in an upstairs bathroom.

However, Sweeney punched a hole in the door and then dragged the woman out of the bathroom by her hair.

Stephen Lee, prosecuting, said Sweeney then punched and kicked the woman while she was on the floor.

The court heard that Sweeney then left the property but was arrested later on Christmas Day.

As well as pleading guilty to a charge of actual bodily harm, Sweeney also admitted taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent and driving while disqualified as he was banned from driving in August 2014 after being convicted of driving while over the alcohol limit.

As a result of the attack, the woman suffered scratches and bruises to her stomach and bruising to her jaw.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she had trouble sleeping and no longer felt safe in her home.

However, the woman, who appeared in court, said she wanted to be at the sentencing hearing to show she was not scared of the defendant.

James McLernon, defending, said the attack was “out of character” for Sweeney and said he had shown genuine remorse.

His Honour Judge Timothy Smith, sentencing, said the attack was “inexcusable” and “frightening”.

He said: “This is something that will live with the victim of the attack for a very long time.

“One of the most frightening and serious parts of the attack was the use of the shod foot to kick the victim.”

Judge Smith sentenced Sweeney to eight months in prison for the ABH, four months for the driving whilst disqualified and four months for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

He said he had decided to suspend this sentence for 18 months due to the fact Sweeney had already spent four-and-a-half months in custody, the equivalent of a nine-month prison sentence.

Sweeney must also complete 120 hours unpaid work and he was given a three-month curfew order from 7pm to 6am. He was banned from driving for four years.