Iraq war veteran jailed for 'vicious' string of assaults on girlfriend
A Westcountry judge cleared a court after an Iraq war veteran he had jailed for attacking his girlfriend erupted in anger in the dock.
Judge John Neligan sentenced James Hamilton-Bing, 24 – who served as a sergeant with 5 Rifles and had once been selected to become a sniper – to 14 months in prison.
As the handcuffed father-of-one was led to the cells at Truro Crown Court yesterday he swore and ranted at the judge: "Two tours of Iraq for this country and this is what you do to me!"
A fight broke out with dock officers and two police officers dashed to help while Judge Neligan cleared the room.
Earlier the court heard the defendant had attacked his then girlfriend and mother of his young son, Emily Cloke on a number of occasions.
Iain White, prosecuting, said that on April 7 when they lived at Bugle, near St Austell, Cornwall, Hamilton-Bing grabbed her by the throat during a row and he was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
At Truro Crown Court he pleaded not guilty, but guilty to common assault, which the Crown accepted because Miss Cloke was reluctant to testify.
He was due to return for sentence and bailed to an address in Cambridgeshire with instructions not to contact Miss Cloke.
But they reconciled and moved into a flat in Harwich, Essex and on August 19 a neighbour called the police to report a disturbance.
He was arrested and charged with a string of further attacks against Miss Cloke during rows.
During the first, on August 11, he punched her in the right eye. And in the second a week later he grabbed her by the throat, pinned her up against a car and slapped her face before leaving. When he returned he pulled a large clump of hair from her head.
The following day he kicked her in the face before grabbing a kitchen knife and threatening to "end it all", the court heard.
Mr White read out a statement from Miss Cloke which read: "At this point I was in fear of my life and I fled from the flat into the street screaming."
Hamilton-Bing of Clarkson Avenue, Wisbech, Essex denied the allegations.
At his trial in Essex in September he was convicted of three counts of common assault and one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was committed to Truro Crown Court for sentence.
Mike Gregson, defending, said when police called at the flat on August 19, Hamilton-Bing hid. He said the Essex judge acknowledged Miss Cloke was a "troubled young lady in a troubled relationship.
Mr Gregson said: "The defendant has an immature attitude. Clearly there is no excuse for his conduct throughout this matter."
Prior to the fracas yesterday Judge Neligan told Hamilton-Bing the assault on April 7 was "by any stretch of the imagination a vicious assault."
He said: "You have carried out some nasty assaults upon a young lady who presumably loved you. Even though there were difficulties in the relationship there was no excuse to be violent to her – violent in an aggressive and bullying way."