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Man jailed for 'cowardly' assault on grandmother

BEHIND BARS: Rowan Geoffrey Shorter has been jailed for assaulting a grandmother and her partner at their North Ipswich home.
BEHIND BARS: Rowan Geoffrey Shorter has been jailed for assaulting a grandmother and her partner at their North Ipswich home. Contributed

A DISTRAUGHT toddler watched in horror as her dad repeatedly punched her grandmother in the head.

The incident occurred when Rowan Geoffrey Shorter made an unannounced visit to see his one-year-old daughter at the North Ipswich home of his ex-partner's mum.

When grandmother Mel Duckett noticed a smell of alcohol on Shorter, she scolded him for turning up intoxicated.

Holding his daughter in one arm, Shorter, 32, responded with a torrent of verbal abuse.

Ms Duckett took the young girl away from her father, which caused him to become angry and he punched the then 40-year-old grandmother in the right eye.

His jab was followed by a flurry of blows which hit Ms Duckett in the head as she tried to force him out of her house.

Ms Duckett's partner, John Wright, rushed to her aid and wrestled with Shorter in an effort to restrain him.

During the struggle, Shorter grabbed a broken piece of a ceramic pot and smashed it over the head of the then 44-year-old.

At Ipswich District Court this week, Shorter pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm and assault occasioning bodily harm while armed.

Crown prosecutor Matthew Le Grand said the incident had occurred on August 19, 2012.

Mr Le Grand said Ms Duckett and Mr Wright were taken to Ipswich Hospital after the attack.

Mr Wright had a 7cm cut to the right side of his forehead. Mrs Duckett suffered bruises to her face and head.

Shorter disappeared after the incident and was not located by police until January.

In a victim impact statement read in court, Ms Duckett said she would never forget the look on her granddaughter's face when Shorter landed that first blow.

"It was a traumatic experience," she said. "I never used to be frightened or intimidated by Rowan but that day changed it all.

"I now live in fear that it will happen again and no longer feel safe in my own house."

Defence barrister Scott Neaves said at the time Shorter was in the midst of a significant amphetamine addiction.

Mr Neaves said Shorten had also experienced domestic violence in his home growing up.

He said Shorten had just wanted to see his daughter and admitted that things had "got out of hand".

Judge Gregory Koppenol described the incident as an "unprovoked, cowardly and prolonged attack".

He said Shorter had a criminal history which dated back to 2000, with numerous instances of violence. Shorter was sentenced to two years jail with parole after eight months.

Topics:  assault occasioning bodily harm, editors picks



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