Suspended jail term for man in drunken knife attack on girlfriend's ex
A jealous boyfriend launched a drunken knife attack on his girlfriend's ex because he wrongly thought they had got back together.
Mark Sprules, 40, had been drinking heavily when he threatened to throw out his partner after seeing her sitting in a pub with her former boyfriend.
And when she turned up at the flat Sprules set about the man, brandishing a bread knife he had picked up inside.
But after hearing he was addressing his problems and reading a letter from the woman a judge imposed a suspended sentence today.
Hannah Squire, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court that Sprules and Marie Cunningham had been in the Kings Arms in Trowbridge on Saturday, October 12.
They were also with her former boyfriend Jonathan Annal and later in the evening the defendant went back to the flat he shared with Miss Cunningham.
But when she didn't return he went out and found them sitting together on a sofa in the White Swan and 'put two and two together and made five'.
Thinking she had been unfaithful, he threw a drink over them and then slapped Miss Cunningham hard to the face accusing her of cheating on him.
The landlady of the pub threw him out and shortly after his girlfriend received a number of calls and texts threatening to throw her stuff out of the flat.
She got a cab back to the property with Mr Annal and when they arrived Sprules had hurled some of her things, including a TV a CD player, into the street.
"Mark Sprules was clearly enraged and he came out of the address waving a knife: a bread knife," Miss Squire said.
She said he went straight for Mr Annal and in the struggle he suffered a cut to the webbing between his left index finger and thumb and a nick to his ear.
Miss Cunningham intervened and managed to stop the violence and the defendant was arrested at the scene.
When he was questioned he was candid saying he had flown into a rage after seeing them sitting together and wrongly believing the worst.
Sprules, of Back Street, Trowbridge, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm, common assault, criminal damage and possessing a bladed article in a public place.
The court heard he had a number of previous convictions including offences of violence and being drunk and disorderly.
Passing sentence, Judge Tim Mousley QC said: "You are remorseful and you appear to be taking steps to put an end to a history of assaults.
"I am satisfied you did not take the knife and use it deliberately to cause injury to him. At the time you were under a great deal of emotional upheaval and genuinely thought your partner was being unfaithful.
"I have read the pre-sentence report and I am told from the author of that report that the considered view is that the best way of stopping you behaving like this is a programme with the probation service, and you won't benefit from that if I send you to prison for a short period.
"I have also read Marie Cunningham's letter and she takes the view you have started to turn your life around. Many would say you should have started to do that a long time ago."
He imposed an eight-month jail term suspended for 18 months with supervision and an alcohol treatment requirement.