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Aberdeen domestic abuser avoids jail despite vicious assault with mobile phone

Anthony McHugh.
Anthony McHugh.

A thug has avoided a jail sentence despite subjecting his girlfriend to months of abuse and smashing her mobile phone into her head, leaving blood pouring from the wound.

Jealous Anthony McHugh frequently flew into rages about Snapchats and text messages his partner received.

The 37-year-old even became angry when a relative of the woman messaged her to tell her his grandfather had died.

McHugh repeatedly called the man in response, demanding to know his location and threatening to kill him.

He also subjected his long-suffering partner to physical assaults, leaving her bruised and permanently scarred.

Fiscal depute Lynne MacVicar told the court the first incident happened between December 20 and 24 2020.

She said the couple began arguing over social media messages she had received and McHugh was being “generally jealous”.

McHugh shouted and swore at his partner, calling her names before punching the kitchen wall so hard it caused a clock, which had sentimental value to the woman, to fall and break.

In February 2021 he flew into another rage after seeing that the complainer had received a Snapchat message from another male.

He again shouted and swore, punched the bedroom wall, smashed glasses and threw her provisional driving licence out of the window.

In the early hours of March 7 last year the pair again rowed at McHugh’s home before he ordered her to leave, which she did.

She initially went to a friend’s house then went home at 9am.

McHugh attended at her home 11am and started “screaming at her to tell him where she had been”.

Ms MacVicar told the court: “The accused grabbed the complainer by the chin, held her against the sofa and was trying to force her to unlock her mobile telephone with her face identification and simultaneously pulling her hair.”

On April 6 McHugh attended the woman’s house uninvited at 2am and began banging on the door.

When she allowed him in he began to shout and swear about Snapchat messages.

She tried to ignore him but he smashed her phone on the kitchen worktop. He also grabbed her arm, leaving it bruised, and struck her on the head with a pillow.

Later in April, during an argument about text messages the woman had received, McHugh picked up her phone and threw it at her, leaving her face bruised.

On May 8 the couple were socialising with his brother and his partner, and again argued throughout the evening.

Ms MacVicar said: “Around 9pm, the complainer received a Snapchat message from a distant relative advising her that his grandfather had passed away. The accused saw the message and became angry with her.

“The complainer showed the accused the message which initially calmed him, however shortly after he stood up, took possession of her mobile, ran to the bathroom and locked the door in an apparent effort to interrogate her phone.”

Woman left scarred following phone assault

When the woman went to the bathroom to ask what he was doing, McHugh grabbed her, pulled her inside and locked the door.

Ms MacVicar went on: “The accused then phoned the relative, asked for his full name and his location, said that he was ‘coming to get’ him, asked where he was, and he
repeatedly shouted that he was going to kill him.”

The relative ended the call, but McHugh called him at least four further times, each time threatening to kill him.

In the early hours of the next day, McHugh “struck her on the head with an open hand
causing a bruise on the left side of her chin” and “pulled her hair and pushed her to
the floor on a number of occasions”.

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McHugh then trashed his partner’s living room, leaving broken glass all over the carpet and surfaces.

Ms MacVicar said: “The accused has then pursued the complainer, struggled with her, wrestled the phone from her hand and struck her to the head with mobile phone, causing blood to pour from her head.”

The woman was left with bruising to her elbow, buttock, lower back and thigh, as well as a 1.5-inch laceration to her forehead that required glue and paper sutures, which has resulted in permanent scarring and concussion.

McHugh, a prisoner of HMP Grampian, pled guilty to engaging in a course of behaviour that was abusive of his partner between December 20 2020 and May 9 2021.

Accused has ‘no desire to cause any further upset’

He also admitted breaching bail conditions and making threatening phone calls to his partner’s relative.

The offences were committed at addresses in Aberdeen.

Defence agent Tony Burgess said: “He recognises that this relationship was a toxic one and the question really comes down to how best to punish Mr McHugh – because he knows he will be punished.

“He has accepted this thing full stop, even where he has no real recollection of the particulars.

“But he accepts that the relationship is at a complete end and he has no desire to cause any further upset by even suggesting to this woman that things be rekindled.”

Sheriff Andrew Miller handed McHugh two years’ supervision and 160 hours of unpaid work.

He also ordered him to complete the Caledonian programme and imposed a three-year non-harassment order.

Grampian Women’s Aid offers a free, confidential and non-judgemental, specialist service to women, children and young people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire who have experienced domestic abuse. If you need help or information please contact them on 01224 593381 or visit their website HERE

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