Man flushed contents of partner's purse down toilet

A south Derry man assaulted his partner and emptied the contents of her purse down the toilet before flushing it, Magherafelt Magistrates Court was told.

Before the court was Martin Anthony McErlean from Sunnyside Park in Maghera, who is accused of assaulting the woman and stealing cash to the value of £30.

The court heard the offences arose out of an incident in the early hours of November 12 last year.

District Judge Oonagh Mullan adjourned the case until June 6 to ascertain whether a probation or community service order would be most appropriate in dealing with the matter.

She said that she was mindful McErlean worked and has no record.

Counsel prosecuting said at 5.30am police received a call to attend a domestic incident in Maghera.

He said the injured party had told officers that she had been at a house party when the argument occurred. She alleged the defendant held her by the arm tightly and punched her on the face and pulled her hair.

The lawyer said she complained that her arm and face were sore but officers could not see any sign of injury, however, later bruising appeared on her arm.

Continuing the prosecutor said during the incident the defendant had emptied her purse, containing approximately £30, down the toilet and flushed it.

He said McErlean admitted to this but claimed there was about £20 in the purse at the time.

He also admitted to pushing the injured party away from him.

The judge questioned whether alcohol had been a factor in his behaviour on this occasion.

Defence barrister Liam McStay replied that alcohol had not been a problem for the defendant in the past.

Describing it as “a disgraceful incident”, Mr McStay said the defendant had dealt with it by entering pleas and cooperating with the Probation Officer.

He claimed the relationship was “on and off” and the injured party had gone to England and come back again, and the defendant had travelled over to England to see her.