Joiner jailed for brutal assault on girlfriend

The pair were checked into the Carronbridge Hotel and had planned to attend Hogmanay celebrations at Stirling Castle. Picture: Creative Commons

The pair were checked into the Carronbridge Hotel and had planned to attend Hogmanay celebrations at Stirling Castle. Picture: Creative Commons

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A JOINER was jailed today after he beat up his girlfriend so badly, after a cancelled Hogmanay party, that their hotel room was turned into a bloodbath.

Steven Howie, a full time joiner and a canvasser for a dry cleaning company, left Karen Murray, 31, with 18 separate injuries after assaulting her over a period of an hour in the room at a lonely inn.

Howie, 28, punched, kicked and kneed her during a prolonged assault, smashed furnishings, and pulled the door of their en-suite bathroom off its hinges.

Because the inn was so isolated, Karen, 31 was unable to get a signal to call police, and officers only arrived after guests in another room dialled 999.

Stirling Sheriff Court heard that Howie and Miss Murray, who had been dating for about four months, checked into the Carronbridge Hotel, in the Campsie Fells, and travelled into Stirling, nine miles away, for Hogmanay celebrations at Stirling Castle, which were to have been headlined by The Waterboys.

Lindsey Brooks, prosecuting, said that “alcohol was consumed” and at one point there was an argument about Howie speaking to another female.

Miss Brooks said the argument was quickly resolved, but the Stirling Castle event was cancelled due to bad weather, and the pair took a taxi back to the hotel about 10.30 pm.

When they got back to their room, Howie began to shout and swear at Miss Murray, calling her a whore and a liar.

The depute fiscal said: “Miss Murray said it came out of the blue.

“The accused then punched her in the face, causing her nose to bleed, punched her in the stomach, and kneed her in the back numerous times.

“Miss Murray was unsure how long this went on for, but she was able eventually to get the accused out of the room and lock the door.

“She was unable to call the police because of poor phone reception.

“A couple staying in the room next door heard a disturbance ongoing on and off for about an hour. They heard male voice being abusive, and banging, and a female crying.”

Half an hour later the couple heard a male voice saying “open the door, I’ll kill you” and a woman shouting “go away”.

They phoned police, who arrived in ten minutes, and found Howie in the hotel car park, heavily intoxicated, with blood on his T-shirt.

Miss Murray was still in the room, which had been trashed.

Mrs Brooks said: “There was blood on the carpet, on the bedding and in the bathroom. The bathroom door had been pulled off its hinges and a shower door had been broken. The bed and bedding were in disarray, and there were smashed lampshades.

“Miss Murray was crying.”

There was also a hole in the bedroom wall.

Howie was arrested and initially gave a false name and date of birth. He made no comment.

Miss Murray was taken to hospital in Larbert, Stirlingshire, where a police surgeon noted the 18 separate injuries.

They included a bruising under the eyes and on the nose, damaged lips, scratches, and bruises to her jaw, both arms and both shoulders, her leg and thigh, and her abdominal wall.

According to the police surgeon, they were the result of “moderate to severe force”.

Howie, of Lorimer Gardens, Dunfermline, admitted threatening violence, assaulting and injuring Miss Murray, causing damage to the room, and giving a false name to police.

His defence agent James Moncrieff said today: “Since this incident, Mr Howie has not consumed any alcohol.

“He is extremely remorseful and recognises that this is a very serious offence.

“The report makes clear that Mr Howie has had a troubled background.”

Mr Moncrieff told the court that Howie and his girlfriend are planning on rekindling their relationship.

He added: “He accepts and she accepts that they are both going to have to address what happened on the night in question.”

Sheriff Wyllie Robertson told Howie: “I have taken account of all that has been said on your behalf.

“I am told that your partner who is the complainer, appears to wish to continue a relationship with you, that is a factor that I have taken into account.

“These offences are examples of sustained violence.”

Sheriff Robertson said that “in relation to the circumstances of the offences” and despite the complainers desire to continue the relationship, there is “no alternative to a custodial sentence.”

He sentenced Howie to eight months imprisonment, starting from April 1st.

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