A man who brutally beat his wife three days after she gave birth before assaulting her 13-year-old daughter has been jailed for the sickening attack.
Kerry Armstrong crouched over her newborn daughter to protect her as husband Gary Peoples punched the mother-of-two in the face and kicked her in the head, leaving her with severe bruising and swelling.
The play group leader, from East Belfast, says she can never forgive the printer worker and is relieved to see him behind bars, Belfast Live reports.
In court, 40-year-old Peoples admitted assaulting his wife, as well as his step-daughter in the same incident on October 2 2017.
After her husband was jailed for 20 months by Judge Elizabeth McCaffrey at the Crown Court in Derry, Ms Armstrong said she was glad the judicial system had worked for her.
She encouraged anyone who was in a domestic violence situation to report it immediately to the authorities.
A barrister for the Public Prosecution Service told Judge McCaffrey that three days after the birth of their daughter, Ms Armstrong and Peoples had an argument in the bedroom of their flat.
Peoples punched her on the face and after she fell to the floor he then kicked her to the head. Seconds before the attack Ms Armstrong had her newborn baby daughter in her arms.
She crouched over the baby in order to protect her during the assault.
When her 13-year-old daughter came into the bedroom, Peoples grabbed her and pushed her up against the wall.
The prosecutor said Peoples initially prevented his wife from leaving their home but she eventually got out of the front door and drove to her mother’s home from where her brother reported the assaults to the police.
Peoples was arrested but made a ‘no comment’ interview.
The barrister said there were several aggravating factors in the case.
She said Ms Armstrong was vulnerable having just given birth three days earlier and she should have felt safe in her family home.
A defence barrister said People accepted it was a terrible way for him to have behaved towards his wife so soon after she’d given birth to their daughter.
She added he was genuinely shameful and remorseful and has not seen his daughter, who is now 18 months old, since the incident.
The barrister said although there was no previous domestic violence history between the couple, their relationship was a difficult one.
He added: “There was a very short romance before the marriage. Both parties brought their own children from previous relationships to the table.
“It was the meshing of two families which raised issues about relationships between the respective children and step children.
“Tensions were at times running high and the defendant bottled things up. He did not deal with things appropriately and he snapped.
“It was an out of character incident and one he will have to live with for the rest of his life.”
Judge McCaffrey said the contents of the victim impact statements made by Kerry and her daughter showed how much the assaults have effected them.
She described People’s actions as abhorrent and said society utterly rejected such offences.
Judge McCaffrey added: “The message must go out that people who commit such crimes will receive condign punishment.”
Speaking after her husband was jailed Ms Armstrong said she felt relieved that the episode was now over.
She added: “I am glad that the judicial system has worked for me in this case.
“It has been quite a long time since this happened and it has been hard to get to this point.
“At times I just wanted to give up but I was determined to go through with it on behalf of other women who have suffered and who are still suffering from the effects of domestic violence.
"I want to thank in particular Women’s Aid in Belfast. Without their help and counselling and without the help of other domestic violence sufferers whom I have met and befriended I couldn’t have gone through with it.
“They gave me amazingly fantastic assistance. Until this happened to me I didn’t really appreciate the extent of the levels of domestic violence in Northern Ireland.
“Now I know and the women whom I now know who have been victims and who have come through it make me feel so humble.”
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