Magherafelt man admits punching pregnant girlfriend


A Magherafelt man who allegedly tried to cause his teenage girlfriend to have a miscarriage by punching her twice in the stomach, admitted assaulting her, a court heard on Monday.

The jury at Antrim Crown Court had heard allegations that after 20-year-old Richard Fullerton was told about the pregnancy, he became “upset and annoyed” and punched the woman twice in the stomach with “full force blows”.

The video of her interview with police was almost over when defence QC John Kearney asked for the charge of common assault to be put to the defendant again and it was then that Fullerton, from Leckagh Drive, admitted assaulting his 18-year-old girlfriend, halting the trial.

He had also been charged with striking her in the stomach with his fist “with intent to procure a miscarriage” on a date unknown between 31st day of December 2009 and the 1st day of February 2010 but following his guilty plea to the lesser offence of common assault, trial Judge Desmond Marrinan ordered the jury to acquit him of that charge.

The judge told Fullerton that although people make mistakes, “you certainly made a big mistake”.

“An assault on another person especially a female is a very serious matter,” said Judge Marrinan who added that he hopes to see a remorseful attitude in the pre-sentence probation report.

Describing the case as a “difficult one,” the judge said the most important feature was that the child was “healthy and well.”

Releasing Fullerton on bail, Judge Marrinan adjourned passing sentence until next month when pre-sentence reports have been compiled.