On Wednesday, Mark Kennedy was charged with causing actual bodily harm to Courtney Hefferon and was freed on bail with a condition not to contact her.
But just 24 hours later, he was back in Ballymena Magistrates Court after police discovered Ms Hefferon “hiding under the hot press in his bedroom cupboard”.
With the lovebirds both appearing at court by video link – Kennedy from police custody and his girlfriend from her home – she wept uncontrollably as District Judge Ann Marshall told the pair in no uncertain terms they had to stay away from each other or Kennedy would have to stay in jail.
Kennedy, from Longfield Gardens in Greenisland, Co Antrim, was charged with causing actual bodily harm on July 12. The court heard that initially police received a silent 999 call where they could hear woman crying but that a short time later there was a third-party report of a disturbance at Ms Hefferon’s address in Larne.
Officers attended and heard “yelling and screaming” from inside and when they got no response, they began to force entry and saw a man running away from a rear laneway.
Kennedy, who was noted to have “fresh cuts on his hands,” was arrested a short distance away.
Ms Hefferon was “distressed and in hysterics”, had a red mark to her face and officers could see evidence of a disturbance as there was smashed glass and a damaged table.
However, she refused to make a complaint against Kennedy, claiming the dog marked her face, and she had fallen down the stairs, declaring to cops “that’s my husband and I’m no tout!”
As he was being taken away, she shouted at him “that’s the last time you’ll ever hit a f***ing woman you scumbag”.
Highlighting that “there was no animal on the property,” Constable Coyle said police were objecting to bail due to fears that Kennedy would commit further offences, revealing that he has 70 convictions including sexual activity with a child, breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and breaching a non-molestation order.
Defence counsel Neil Moore said the SOPO was put in place as a result of Kennedy “being with a young girl” with the defendant being closely monitored by probation and his designated risk manager.
Submitting that “there’s every likelihood that this will not be a prosecution,” he suggested that Kennedy could be freed with a package of bail conditions.
Commenting that “it’s a classic case where a couple make up and break up quite quickly... clearly it’s a toxic relationship”, District Judge Oonagh Mullan said she would grant bail “rather reluctantly”.
The very next day, Kennedy was back before the same court but a different judge and again bail was opposed due to the perceived risks to Ms Hefferon.
Freeing Kennedy once again, Judge Marshall told him it was his final chance.
“If she turns up at your door and begs on her knees to let her in, do not let her in and make sure you are not in her company because you are the one on bail, not her,” she told Kennedy, adjourning his case to August 11.