Alcoholic who beat partner is spared jail

An alcoholic has been spared jail for beating up his one-time “fame hunter” partner a fourth and fifth time.

Carl Anthony Britton attacked Dawn Barry in February and May. The pair, who both have drink problems, had met in a rehabilitation unit. Miss Barry appeared on the TV programme “Come Dine With Me” and was said to have been so drunk she passed out before she served the main course.

Pennine magistrates heard how Britton (38) hit the victim in the face, gashing her forehead, during a drinking session at his home in Gisburn Road, Barrowford.

He had denied the allegation and went to trial. But part-way through the hearing, he changed his plea to guilty, saying although his memory of the evening was clouded by drink, if Miss Barry said he had done it, then he had.

Miss Barry, who had been distressed giving evidence, had told the Bench Britton beat her up “24/7” and had left her scarred for life, but she loved him.

The defendant told the justices: “”I love Dawn so much and to see her so upset like that has upset me.” Britton was now said to be abstinent from alcohol and the victim was starting a detoxification programme.

The defendant admitted assault causing actual bodily harm on May 11th and assault by beating on February 23rd. He has eight previous convictions, of which three relate to the victim.

Britton, who had spent time on remand, was given a 12-month community order with supervision and six months alcohol treatment. He must pay £300 costs. Sentencing, the Bench told him they had taken into account the pair’s “strong relationship” which they both wanted to continue.

Giving evidence, Miss Barry said she and Britton, who had been together 19 months, had been sitting on the sofa, chatting and watching TV, and had been drinking cider. She said the defendant “smacked me in the head,” knocking her out. Miss Barry told the court she woke up on the floor. She said she spoke to doctors, but did not have medical treatment. The victim claimed Britton had been “crying his eyes out,” telling her he didn’t mean to do it. She had told the magistrates: “He knows he’s done it.”

Cross-examined by Mr Nick Dearing, for Britton, Miss Barry had at first she would not talk about “Come Dine with Me” and walked out of court. He had asked her: “Did you not pass out before you served the main course?” She replied: “I went to sleep.”

Mr Dearing had asked if the victim had described herself as a “fame hunter” in the past. She said a long time ago she might have liked that. She added: “But not at my age.”

For Britton, Mr Dearing said he had not been in trouble before last year. He continued: “The defendant’s drinking has been extreme.”

The solicitor added since his release from custody, Britton, who he had previously called a “pathetic drunk”, had gone to Alcoholics Anonymous and had treatment from Inspire. His father had offered him a job.

Mr Dearing added of Britton and the victim: “They both must be sober before they stand a chance. The defendant is genuinely sorry now he has harmed her. He loves her.”