remorseless | 

Armagh thug who battered partner so badly she couldn’t eat or talk jailed for nine years

Despite the victim’s consistent evidence and clear medical evidence against him, the court heard Mark Dunlop still maintains he is totally innocent

Newry Crown Court.

Paul HigginsSunday World

A remorseless bully boy thug who repeatedly battered his partner, including once leaving her lying in an unconscious, bloody heap on the kitchen floor was handed a nine year jail sentence on Tuesday.

Despite the victim’s consistent evidence and clear medical evidence against him such as a jaw so badly fractured the woman couldn’t eat or talk properly, Newry Crown Court heard that 31-year-old Mark Dunlop still maintains he is totally innocent.

Appearing by video link from Maghaberry prison, he sat seemingly without emotion as Judge Gordon Kerr KC branded Dunlop as a dangerous offender likely to cause serious harm to other victims.

Imposing the nine year extended sentence on the father-of-five, he also ordered that whenever the parole commissioners see fit to release the domestic abuser, he will spend a further three years on licence.

Following a trial earlier this year, a jury convicted Dunlop, from the Ballynick Road, Loughgall, of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, two counts of common assault, one of causing actual bodily harm and making three threats to kill the victim and her parents, including her cancer patient father, with all of the offences committed between May 2019 and April 2020.

Summarising the case during his damning sentencing remarks, Judge Kerr recounted how the most serious offence, that of GBH, was committed on 1 June when the victim was in the utility room of her Tandragee home and he began his attack by dragging her by the hair to the kitchen.

As the victim screamed and pleaded for Dunlop to stop, he punched her to the floor where, holding her by the hair, he rained punched on her face and head, kicked her under the chin while wearing his work boots and banged her head off the cupboards and floor.

When she eventually reported the series of assaults, the victim told cops how the attack began when it was dark and when she came to lying on the kitchen floor, her hair matted in blood to her head, it was day light.

Dunlop was sitting in the dining room, “drinking wine and crying” but the victim’s face was so badly bleeding and swollen, he wouldn’t allow her to see herself.

When she did however, the victim wept and asked to go to the hospital but Dunlop pleaded with her to cover for him, to tell medical staff they were "messing about", so she lied to her mother, sister, neighbour and the hospital staff as he had been instructed because “she felt sorry for him" as his mother had recently been diagnosed with cancer.

Her mouth couldn’t close properly, she couldn’t eat or talk properly and an x-ray ten days later confirmed her jaw had been broken and again, she lied to hospital staff.

Six months later in December, Dunlop punched her off a breakfast stool when she disagreed with Dunlop’s brother and then in February 2020, he repeatedly punched her in the head when she refused to unfriend her own sister on social media.

As she raised her hand to protect her face, Judge Kerr said Dunlop hut her on the “back of her head while she was on the ground and also smashed her mobile phone off the ground.”

After that incident, Dunlop drove away threatening that “if she did not shut her mouth he would kill her" and also threatened to kill her parents but in the following days, she told her GP and her dentist.

The cowardly bully threatened that if she did not retract her allegations, he would reveal naked images he had of the victim.

Judge Kerr described how the last assault came in April 2020 when the then couple were celebrating their pregnancy but as Dunlop for more and more drunk, his aggression increased to dish an extent that he was foaming at the mouth, waving his fists “inches from her face…. blaming her for the COVID pandemic and that it was her fault he wasn't able to see his children.”

Arrested and questioned, Dunlop claimed the victim had concocted her claims to “try and maintain control of him” and Judge Kerr revealed that he still claims to have done nothing wrong.

In addition to the nine year sentence, Dunlop was also handed a 20 year restraining order.

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