Ipswich: Violent bully jailed for attack on girlfriend

IPSWICH: A “drunken, violent bully” who pulled out clumps of his girlfriend’s hair and squeezed her throat so tightly that she passed out is today starting a three-year prison term.

Richard Cooper, who has three earlier convictions for assaulting Alexandra Rolfe during the last five years, became angry when she hid a bottle of vodka, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

He repeatedly punched her in the face, causing two black eyes, a cut above her eye, a cut on the bridge of her nose and small cuts on her lips.

He also grabbed her round the throat and squeezed so hard that she passed out and thought she was going to die, said Patricia Doggett, prosecuting.

Miss Rolfe begged her 28-year-old boyfriend to let go. Eventually, when he went to bed, she telephoned the police.

She was taken to hospital and, in addition to her facial injuries, she was also found to have marks on her neck and sore areas on her head where clumps of hair had been pulled out.

Cooper, of Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, admitted assaulting her, causing her actual bodily harm and having a kitchen knife in a public place. He also admitted being in breach of a 16-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months for an assault on a 16-year-old boy.

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Miss Doggett said police were called to Cooper’s flat on January 16 because he wanted Miss Rolfe removed from the premises.

During the incident, Cooper came out of an alleyway from his house and was seen concealing something in his hand. Officers told him to drop the object and discovered it was a kitchen knife.

Four days later, police again attended the premises after receiving a call from Miss Rolfe, who said she had been assaulted by the defendant.

Miss Doggett told the court Cooper had appeared in court for earlier assaults on Miss Rolfe in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

On one occasion, he had grabbed her round the throat and elbowed her in the mouth causing a cut lip.

On another, she fell down stairs during an argument with him and on the third occasion Cooper had punched and kicked her during an argument.

Sentencing Cooper for the latest assault, Judge Rupert Overbury told the defendant: “From your previous convictions, it is plain to me that you are a drunken, violent bully.”

He jailed him for 28 months for the assault on Miss Rolfe with four months to run consecutively for the kitchen knife offence.

He also ordered Cooper to serve the 16-week suspended sentence consecutively to the other two sentences, making a total of three years less 116 days he has spent in custody.

Richard Potts, for Cooper, said his client’s behaviour towards Miss Rolfe when he was drunk was shameful.

He said Miss Rolfe had withdrawn her statement to the police about the incident and appeared to want their relationship to continue.

“His views don’t entirely match with hers,” he added.

n Has your life been affected by domestic violence? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk