Northampton man beat partner unconscious then told police she 'tripped' while blithely having a smoke
As police tried to wake up his victim, Aaron Harte had a cigarette and told them: "She tripped."
The bodyworn camera footage played in Northampton Crown Court on May 21 showed Aaron Harte, of Thursby Street, cradling an unconscious woman against his chest on a pavement.
When asked what happened, the 24-year-old calmly puffed on a cigarette and told the officer: "She tripped."
In reality, the woman was out cold because minutes earlier Harte had hit her hard enough to knock her unconcious in one blow.
As police tried to rouse the victim and ask her what happened, Harte repeatedly told the officers "nothing happened, nothing happened."
The bodyworn footage played in court showed how only when police were able to wake the woman up and walk her away from her partner were police able to get an answer.
"Did he hit you?" said the officer. "Can't you tell?" she replied.
Witnesses later described how in the moments before the assault, Harte and the woman had been "standing head to head" in an argument on the pavement on an unspecified road in Wellingborough.
Prosecutor Andrew Peet told the court: "She told him 'don't headbutt me' and slapped him. This defendant, put plainly, hit her with all he could."
After Harte's arrest following the incident in September last year, he first told police he hit her in self-defence, then that she was lying about being unconscious.
He was found guilty of ABH following a trial in April. The victim in the case refused to give evidence.
However, in sentencing, His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo stated that if he were to send Harte to prison, it would be reduced by the time he had spent in custody and on tagged curfew - amounting to approximately three months in prison.
"In that time, what good could positively be done?" said the judge.
"A tougher sentence for you would be a suspended sentence, with conditions bolted on to protect your victim and to prevent you from committing further offences of a relationship type."
Harte was handed an 11-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. Additionally, he was ordered to complete a rehabilitation course on relationships, committed to a curfew and banned from the town of Wellingborough for a year.