Sheffield 'thug' jailed for drunkenly attacking ex-partner and smashing up her home

An ‘absolute thug’ who attacked his former partner and smashed up her Sheffield home while her children were in the house has been jailed for over a year.

By Sarah Marshall
Tuesday, 16 July, 2019, 14:48

As Judge David Dixon jailed Christopher Ward for 18 months for the catalogue of crimes committed at his former partner’s home, he described it as ‘regrettable’ he did not have the power to send him to prison for longer.

“If I had my way, the sentence would be much longer,” Judge Dixon told Ward, 39.

The incident began on the evening of December 23 last year when Ward woke up his former partner and two-year-old son by banging on the back door, after consuming a cocktail of cocaine and nine pints of lager, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Christopher Ward has been jailed for 18 months

Laura Marshall, prosecuting, told the court that when his former partner, the complainant, opened the door to him she ‘knew straight away he had been drinking a lot’.

An argument ensued between the pair, whose six-year relationship had recently begun to deteriorate, and Ward quickly became ‘incensed’ at the complainant’s responses to him, the court heard.

“He shouted: ‘It’s always my f***ing fault’ and lifted his right leg up, pivoted it back and kicked her on the lower left leg at least twice,” said Ms Marshall.

She told the court how Ward, of Spring Close View, Gleadless proceeded to lean over the complainant while and punched her to her cheeks, but did not cause her ‘any pain’.

As this was happening, the pair’s two-year-old son appeared in the doorway, at which point the complainant pushed Ward off her and ran upstairs with the toddler.

While the complainant phoned the police and her parents from upstairs, Ward began smashing up the property with a baseball bat.

Ms Marshall said Ward left the house after hearing the complainant on the phone to her mother, but stole her house keys and attempted to block her parents’ entrance when they arrived at the property.

“Her mother jumped over the fence, pushing the defendant out of the way when he was obstructing her path,” she said.

Police arrived on the scene a short time later, and found Ward, who appeared ‘agitated,’ standing in the back garden holding a brick, with more bricks and the baseball bat placed on the ground nearby.

Ms Marshall said: “As police officers approached, the defendant shouted: ‘Don’t come any closer’ and threatened to throw bricks at them and their control vehicles.”

Due to fears Ward would use the weapons he had assembled, more officers armed with tasers were called to the scene and he was eventually arrested without anyone being injured.

Ms Marshall told the court how the complainant’s father ‘took ill’ shortly after arriving at the property, and tragically died at the scene.

Through a statement submitted to the court, the complainant said she associated what happened that night as having something to do with her father’s sudden passing.

“I’ll never forgive Chris for what he’s done,” she said.

The complainant, whose 10-year-old daughter was asleep upstairs while the incident took place, also valued the damage Ward caused to her property as being £900.

Ward was found guilty of common assault, criminal damage and theft following a trial at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court, and pleaded guilty to a charge of affray at an earlier hearing.

Andrew Swaby, defending, described Ward as someone who ‘doesn’t cope well with conflict’ and said he had ‘over-reacted’ on the night in question.

He said Ward had attempted to tackle his ‘underlying drug problem’ and had attended 21 out of 24 appointments offered by charity, Addaction.

Mr Swaby told the court that prior to this latest set of offences, Ward’s most recent crime was committed in 2013, and added: “He’s demonstrated that he has the capacity and determination to stay out of trouble.

“He also has caring responsibilities for his eight-year-old son and younger brother. Sending him to custody would impact heavily on those individuals also.”

As he jailed Ward, Judge Dixon described him as an ‘absolute thug’ and said his sentencing powers had been limited because the injuries he inflicted on the complainant were not of the ‘greatest severity’.

“Fortunately for her and regrettably, fortunately for you too, her injuries weren’t of the greatest severity. I put it in that way because it limits my powers greatly. You deserve to go to custody for a very long time for what you did that night but my powers are limited.

“This happened while children were in the house..there are umpteen studies that show children who see violence, it causes them harm. You did that,” said Judge Dixon.

He added: “If man up is the right term then you need to do that because you weren’t a man on that night, you were a coward.”

Judge Dixon also granted a restraining order, preventing Ward from contacting the complainant.

- South Yorkshire Police have been asked to provide a custody image of Ward.