Fears pregnant woman’s attacker ‘may one day kill’

 

AN IPSWICH magistrate tasked with sentencing a man over a shocking assault on a pregnant woman expressed fears that he might kill someone if he continues on his current path of gratuitous violence.

When Norman Frank Clarke appeared from jail via video-link before Ipswich Magistrates Court to be sentenced for kicking a pregnant woman in the face, his disturbing history of violence was also disclosed.

His sudden unprovoked attack on the pregnant 35-year old mother left her unconscious and bleeding from multiple facial injuries.

Clarke, 24, a long-time Fraser Coast resident who recently moved to Ipswich, pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm to the woman at Chuwar on January 28.

Prosecutor Sergeant Rose Molinaro said the woman was then Clarke's girlfriend and she arrived home about 5pm to find him waiting outside.

She had not seen him for several days after he borrowed her car and drove off.

Sgt Molinaro said the couple chatted and when she went to get her bag he suddenly kicked out at her.

The blow to her face sent her reeling into a glass door then slump unconscious to the floor.

Sgt Molinaro said after being knocked out cold, the distressed woman regained consciousness, and looked up to see Clarke holding a large butcher's knife against his own throat.

Injured and bleeding the woman was able to get the knife off him and then drove herself to hospital.

Clarke went with her, using a towel to stem the bleeding as well as keep watch that she did not pass out.

She suffered a fractured nose and eyebrow bone and had to see a specialist.

"He is young but has an appalling history. Acts of gratuitous violence come into play," Sgt Molinaro said.

The prosecutor outlined his criminal history and jail sentences imposed for violent offences committed in the Hervey Bay and Maryborough.

Clarke's parole on previous matters had been suspended and he was serving a sentence until April 2021.

Defence lawyer David Abrey spoke about Clake's traumatic childhood, substance abuse, and a medical report finding PTSD likely causes irritable outbursts and physical aggression.

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said the kick to the woman's face had enough force to knock her out cold. When she came to she heard Clarke saying "oh my god what have I done," and saw him holding the knife to his throat saying he was going to slit his own throat.

Ms Sturgess said Clarke has an extremely violent criminal history.

In 2014 he was sentenced to a two-year jail term for assault doing grievous bodily harm to a young male.

In February 2015 he was sentenced to a 30-month jail term for causing grievous bodily harm to a taxi driver in Hervey Bay.

There had also been an assault causing grievous bodily harm on a police officer, and an armed assault on a 55-year-old man at a service station in Maryborough.

Ms Sturgess said the court must consider the need to protect the community from his offending.

"You strike me Mr Clarke as being an extremely dangerous and violent man," she said.

"The way you behaved toward her on this day I have very grave fears that one day you may kill someone Mr Clarke.

"It was an unprovoked and vicious attack on your partner that resulted in injury to her.

"I am very concerned by the risk you pose to other people in the community."

A report also revealed Clarke had been involved in multiple fights in jail with other inmates.

Ms Sturgess sentenced him to a two-year jail term, to be served cumulatively on top of his existing sentence.

Clarke can begin to make his parole application from March 24 next year.


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