Sprowston man guilty of assaulting woman and growing cannabis

Norwich Magistrates' Court.

Norwich Magistrates' Court.

A man terrified his girlfriend by driving at high speeds before trying to force her out of the car and biting her, a court has heard.

Norwich Magistrate's Court heard yesterday how Gavin Barker, 32, from Coughtrey Close, in Sprowston, attacked his now ex-girlfriend after a night out, on April 1.

He pleaded guilty to assault, growing cannabis, drink driving and possession of cannabis at the hearing.

Mr Barker and the victim had been drinking in Norwich on the night of the assault.

Ian Devine, crown prosecutor, said: 'It seems for the first few hours the evening went fine, however near the end, Mr Barker's mood changed considerably. He demanded they leave.'

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Fellow patrons intervened in the argument and he left the establishment in the victim's car, before returning and picking her up.

He then drove at high speeds and aggressively, scaring the woman.

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He stopped in a residential area and tried to physically force her out of the car, before biting her hand - an assault which left her hands and upper body marked.

Her screams during the attack awoke a couple in a nearby bungalow.

They got out of bed and went to intervene in a bid to help the woman - an action called 'brave' by Nick Watson, District Judge.

The couple shouted for the man to leave her alone and Mr Barker ran away. The couple stayed with the victim until the police arrived and offered to give evidence in court.

The police were called and discovered him at his home, with 0.1g of cannabis.

He failed a breathalyser test - measuring 46 micrograms in 100 millilitres of breath - and was arrested on suspicion of assault.

However, he was already on bail after officers had found a cannabis factory at his address, on March 19. He was interviewed following the discovery and admitted growing 25 cannabis plants for his own personal use.

Mr Devine said the defendant had claimed he smoked cannabis to treat his anxiety. He added that Mr Barker said it was a cheaper alternative to buying it off of the streets, which would cost him around £1,100 a month.

Miss Pope, Mr Barker's defence solicitor, said the defendant's medication had been changed prior to the assault and that he is currently undergoing evaluation for other mental health conditions.

Nick Watson, District Judge, said custody was a likely outcome and thanked the couple for coming to the victim's aid.

Mr Baker has been released on bail, with conditions preventing him from contacting the victim and is disqualified from driving.

A pre-sentence report will be put together over the next three weeks by probation services.

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