Norwich mother punched in the face for telling drunk man to keep the noise down

A mother was grabbed by the wrist and punched in the face outside her city home after she told a drunken man to keep the noise down because he had woken her young child, a court has heard.

Kevin Cullabine, who attacked the woman and left her with a badly bruised eye, initially told police he was too drunk to remember hitting her outside the house in Bowthorpe. However, Cullabine, 49, of Noot Alley, off Clover Hill Road, Bowthorpe, later pleaded guilty to one count of assault by beating and appeared yesterday at Norwich Magistrates' Court to be sentenced.

Fergus Harold, prosecuting, said the offence happened at about 12.30am on Saturday, July 2 when the victim was in the living room of her home address with her patio doors open.

Mr Harold said she became aware of a man shouting 'very loudly' towards the back of her property.

Other people were shouting at him to keep the noise down and, after he woke the victim's 15-month-old baby, she decided to confront him as she was fearful he would wake her other children if he did not quieten down.

She went to where the noise was and as she saw him 'recognised him as someone her father knew'.

Mr Harold said: 'She asked him to tone down the noise. He grabbed hold of her right hand and wouldn't let her go, and hit her in the right eye with a clenched fist.'

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The victim, who suffered a badly bruised eye, which closed up following the assault, went back into the house where she called the police.

Mr Harold said Cullabine was traced and interviewed by police. He told them he was 'too drunk to remember hitting her' and was 'very intoxicated'.

District Judge Peter Veits said it had been a 'very nasty offence' which 'crossed the custody threshold' and could easily have resulted in an immediate prison sentence, but for his lack of a criminal record.

Cullabine was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for a year.

He was also ordered to pay the victim �100 compensation and �85 prosecution costs.

Chris Brown, mitigating, said Cullabine had entered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity to the 'one blow' assault.

Mr Brown said Cullabine had done much to put his offending behind him and had taken steps to get qualifications in a bid to 'give himself a genuine opportunity of employment'.

But the court heard Cullabine was to find himself in a situation 'he wasn't qualified for' - that of a single parent needing to provide emotional support following 'fairly catastrophic' family incidents 'that left him unable to cope'.

Mr Brown said 'publicly' he appeared to his family as their 'rock', but failed to deal with issues that arose, 'didn't cope well and took to the bottle as a result'.

He added Cullabine was willing to seek help for his drinking to try to tackle his dependency.

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