Man swears at judge during sentencing for breaking woman's jaw

Terrence Nicholls appeared over video link at the hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday.

Terrence Nicholls appeared over video link at the hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday. - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich woman suffered a broken jaw after she was punched in the face by a 32-year-old man who stole keys from her home, a court has heard.

Terrence Nicholls appeared at the hearing via a prison video link at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday, but was removed from the video link room by prison staff after shouting and swearing at the judge.

The hearing heard the woman was at her home in Hawthorn Drive in Ipswich in September last year when a passer-by saw Nicholls going into her house and told her what she’d seen, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

When the woman checked her home she realised her keys, which had been left on a table just inside the front door were missing, and ran out into the street where she saw Nicholls with her keys hanging out of his pocket, said John Farmer, prosecuting.

The woman demanded that Nicholls give her back the keys and when he refused she had pinned him against a wall.

He had initially appeared to calm down but he had then punched her in the face with his fist causing a bilateral fracture to her jaw.

She later underwent surgery to have two metal plates fitted to help her jaw heal, said Mr Farmer.

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Nicholls, of no fixed address, was arrested shortly afterwards and subsequently admitted burglary, inflicting grievous bodily harm and breach of a community order and was jailed for 21 months.

Sentencing him Recorder Gabrielle Posner said: “This was a traumatic incident for the victim. You violated the privacy of her home and subsequently used violence against her which resulted in a fracture to her jaw which had to be plated.”

She said the offence was made more serious because of his background of committing other violent offences.

Adam Norris for Nicholls said his client had committed the burglary and grievous bodily harm offence during a community order and the probation service felt it couldn’t offer any alternatives to an immediate custodial sentence.

Mr Norris said Nicholls was “short of stature” and had punched the victim after she pinned him against a wall.

“He acted spontaneously,” said Mr Haswell.