Exposed: The cowardly groom jailed after head-butting bride on their wedding night

Husband Darren McGeown gets jail term after CCTV shows him hitting new wife with his head and fist hours after saying ‘I do’

Darren McGeown from Armagh pleaded guilty to a violent wedding day attack on his new bride at the Seagoe Hotel in Portadown

Darren McGeown

The Seagoe Hotel, Portadown

Steven Moore and Paul HigginsSunday World

This is the cowardly groom who head-butted his bride on his wedding night.

Not content with that shocking behaviour, Darren McGeown then slammed his so-called beloved against the wall outside of the bridal suite – almost tearing her wedding dress off, a court heard on Friday.

Jailing the shame-faced 30-year-old for four months, District Judge Bernie Kelly told him: “There were several violent attacks upon this lady that you perpetrated on her wedding day...on her wedding you.

“And your three children were at that wedding,” said the horrified judge.

“Domestic violence is a scourge in society. It is shocking to find someone of your age in court for it because I would have liked to have thought that by your generation, there would be a greater understanding of how unacceptable any form of violence within a domestic setting is.”

McGeown, with an address at Railway Street in Armagh, had entered a guilty plea to causing actual bodily harm to his wife within hours of them saying ‘I do’ on August 27 last year.

Darren McGeown

A prosecuting lawyer outlined how cops were called to an ongoing fight at the Seagoe Hotel in Portadown that night but by the time they arrived “all was calm”.

As the officers walked through the guests at the reception, “no one made themselves known to police as victims of an assault nor did police observe any injuries”.

“Staff then advised police that the groom, Mr McGeown, had come into the main wedding room, was very erratic and appeared to be starting a fight,” said the lawyer.

He added that when the police went to the bridal suite, “it was immediately apparent she had swelling and redness to her left cheekbone which had affected the shape of her eye”.

Inside the room, “there were signs of disturbance, broken glass and fragments suspected to be from a mobile phone” and when police viewed CCTV coverage from the corridor outside the bridal suite, the footage captured the couple having “a heated argument before the defendant became violent,” said the prosecutor.

He described how McGeown “put his forehead into the bride’s before putting his head back and aggressively headbutting her”.

“He backs away for a second and the bride appears to put her hands out to push him away.

“He appears to drop kick something up the corridor and it is unclear what the object is.

“He then walks up the corridor before coming back towards the bride and appears to push her against the wall.

“He then strikes her with his fist to her head.

“He pushes his forehead into hers and she is backed up against the wall.

“He then flings her across the corridor with force and she collides into the wall, causing her dress to partially fall off, and then he walks away and returns to the main wedding reception.”

The Seagoe Hotel, Portadown

McGeown was arrested the following day – still in his wedding suit which had blood on it – and during interviews he admitted head-butting his new bride but claimed that was because she had “grabbed him by the throat and... she assaulted him with a hairpiece which had left marks on his ear”.

“He denied punching her but stated when he grabbed her by the wrist and flung her across the corridor she then hit her head off the wall causing a visible mark to her face,” said the lawyer, who told the court McGeown “was remorseful for his actions”.

Defence counsel David McKeown conceded the defendant’s actions “would have been unedifying at the best of times but for it to happen in the way it did, on the occasion that it was, is startling”.

The barrister added: “What happened on this occasion, was unacceptable and he fully accepts that it was. He has to take, and does take, responsibility for it.

“He knows he is to be punished. He is deeply ashamed. He wants to make amends and put the whole incident behind him and try if possible and if allowable to rebuild what he had before this incident.”

District Judge Kelly said: “That tells me how much he has learned from this.

“Why would he assume that a man capable of that level of violence in a domestic setting would be given social services’ blessing to go back into the home where the victim of his violence resides and where the children of that union reside.”

Imposing the four-month jail sentence, the judge said given the facts and circumstances “I have no option but to drift this as so serious that there is only one penalty I can impose”.

Although taken to the cells to begin his sentence, four hours later McGeown was freed on bail pending appeal.

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