Drunken man assaulted ex-partner

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A Colne dad-of-two pulled his ex-partner from a taxi and allegedly dragged her across a car park in a night of stalking her, a court heard.

Pennine magistrates were told how drunken plasterer John Miles Higgin was said to have followed victim Samantha Whitehead from club to club before the early hours violence and then pursued her home in a cab after it.

Higgin, who later told police that on a scale of one to 10 in drunkenness he was 10, denied dragging her out of the taxi. Ms Whitehead suffered cuts, scratches and bruises after, she would say, she was pulled across the tarmac.

The defendant (41), of Penrith Road, admitted assault by beating. Higgin, who has never been in trouble before, was fined £200, with £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge. He must pay £100 compensation. The bench said the incident was “quite sustained” and involved a breach of trust.

Prosecutor Mr Adrian Hollamby said the defendant and victim separated six years ago after being together 14 years.

At about 3am, she got in a taxi with her friend. She felt Higgin had been following her from club to club, could see an argument possibly occurring and decided to go home.

Mr Hollamby said Ms Whitehead was sitting in a taxi when Higgin pulled her out of it and dragged her across the car park for about 10 metres. She told police she was shouting for him to let go, but he wouldn’t listen.

The victim managed to get back to her cab and when she arrived home, a black taxi pulled up nearby. She ran into her home, scared for her own safety. Higgin arrived and told her: “Let me in. Let’s talk. I won’t hurt you,” to which she replied: “You have already done that.”

The victim’s friend called the police and the defendant was arrested. He claimed he and Ms Whitehead had rowed outside a nightclub and a “tug of war” happened as she got into the taxi. He denied he had dragged her. The prosecutor added: “He was shown photographs of the injuries and he agreed the injuries could have been caused by himself.”

Miss Jasmine Basnyet (defending) said there had been no animosity between the pair since the break down of their relationship.

Higgin did fully accept he pulled her out of the taxi. She had grabbed him. Miss Basnyet continued: “It would appear it’s been loss of balance rather than a deliberate dragging. He does have deep regrets about what happened.”