‘Out-of-control’ dumped boyfriend attacked ex-partner with ashtray

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An ‘out-of-control’ dumped boyfriend attacked his ex-partner with an ashtray - after previously carrying out a racially-aggravated assault on her landlord.

Lee Rushforth had a row with his ex-partner Gemma Musson who sought help from her landlord Mohammed Elyas, who was working at the Barnsley Plumbing Centre, Cundy Cross.

After following Miss Musson into the store on November 7 last year, Rushforth racially abused and attacked Mr Elyas.

CCTV footage played in Sheffield Crown Court showed Rushforth, 24, repeatedly assaulting Mr Elyas and going behind the counter to continue the attack.

Property and fittings worth £565 were damaged during the rampage.

Rushforth was bailed and a month later he called Miss Musson names after he saw her out on an evening in Barnsley. He later arrived at her home in a taxi, followed her inside and smashed a mirror and a lamp.

Two months later he again went to her address in the early hours and began shouting and banging on the doors and windows.

He had been drinking and was ‘off his head’ but after ten minutes she let him in - only for Rushforth to begin smashing ornaments.

He punched her in the face and ribs and then hit her three times in the face with an ashtray. He also threw the TV to the floor and kicked a hole in a bedroom door.

Rushforth, of St Josephs Gardens, Barnsley, caused £500 damage and Miss Musson is now on medication and needs counselling.

He admitted racially aggravated assault and criminal damage on November 7, assault causing actual bodily harm on February 7 and criminal damage on December 5 and February 7.

Sean Fritchley, defending, said Rushforth ‘accepts he is a man out of control’.

He had gone off the rails after witnessing the death of his best friend in a car crash, suffering from post-traumatic stress and self-medicating with drugs. The court was told Rushworth realises his behaviour needs to change.

Judge Mark Gargan told Rushforth, who had been on remand in custody for four months, that he was prepared to give him a chance to ‘put this behind you and move forward’.

He said: “This was a catalogue of wholly unacceptable behaviour involving violence towards people including an ex-girlfriend. You simply couldn’t let it go.

“I walked into court intending to send you to custody immediately but your counsel has persuaded me that I can just suspend the sentence. The reason being chiefly is the time you have spent in custody.”

Rushforth was given an 18-month jail term suspended for two years, 250 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation course. He was also given a restraining order, stopping contact with Miss Musson or Mr Elyas for three years.