Norwich man given suspended jail sentence for slapping pregnant partner after tattoo row

A Norwich man has been handed a suspended jail sentence after slapping his pregnant partner in a row over her getting a tattoo.

Wayne Pritchard, 48, from Catton Grove Road, originally pleaded not guilty to assaulting his partner but changed his plea to guilty when he appeared at Norwich Magistrates' Court yesterday .

Prosecuting, Lisa Britton said there was a history of violence between the pair since they got together 18 months ago.

She said: 'On this occasion the assault occurred on April 18, just a few weeks after Pritchard had been given a community order for similar offences.

'Pritchard and his partner had gone to a friend's house and were watching TV at about 11pm. She told him she wanted to get a tattoo and an argument developed when the friend went to bed.

'She wanted to go home but he locked the door and slapped her in the face. He was also nudging her chin with his fists. She called the police but he continued to slap her across the face and when police arrived he was pinning her against a chair. His partner is heavily pregnant.'

Miss Britton said Pritchard had 11 previous offences against the person over a 20-year period, and had previously been jailed for 15 months for manslaughter after injecting his then partner with heroin and she died as a result.

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James Landles, for Pritchard, said his partner had sent him a letter whilst he was in custody, but had then changed her mind and requested he be banned from having contact with her.

He said Pritchard's life had been beset by various tragedies including a manslaughter conviction, for which he carried around an enormous amount of remorse, but said he had managed to get himself clean after being a drug addict for many years.

Chairman of the bench Geoff Evans told Pritchard: 'You have a very unenviable record of violence and you have a tempestuous relationship with your current partner, and she complained about your actions towards her.'

Magistrates revoked the original 2-year community order given before and handed Pritchard a 5-month jail sentence suspended for two years. This was coupled with a 24-month supervision order with the requirement to do a domestic violence and alcohol treatment programme.

A restraining order was also made banning Pritchard indefinitely from having any contact with his partner. No orders for costs or compensation were made.

The Don't Suffer in Silence campaign highlights the problem of domestic violence. Do you have a story to tell after escaping an abusive partner? Email David Bale at