Ex-Afghanistan soldier beat up teen girlfriend

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
Have your say

A former soldier involved in deadly combat in Afghanistan subjected his teenage girlfriend to a sustained attack after dragging her out of bed.

John Barnes, 35, carried out the violent assault while on 
licence from a prison sentence for robbery.

His 17-year-old victim was asleep when Barnes pulled her from the bed, dragged her on to the landing and knocked her to the floor, during the 
attack in May.

She was then punched and thrown against a wardrobe before being kicked in the face and punched in the nose during the brutal ordeal.

The prosecution also said the teenager went to the bathroom and ended up pinned to a wall, striking her head against it.

Barnes, 35, was jailed for 20 months at Preston Crown Court after pleading guilty to causing actual bodily harm.

James Hawks, defending, said: “His alcohol dependency and propensity to outbursts of serious violence is likely to be connected to two tragic events in his youth when his mother and sister were killed.

“He was on active service in Afghanistan and there was fatal fighting.

“Two Afghan combatants turned out to be a father and his teenage son.

“These things seemed to have been pummelling away in the background. The defendant has referred himself to 
Alcoholics Anonymous.”

Hawks added that his client had written a letter to the court, as had his victim, who said she believed Barnes had the capacity to change and was motivated to change.

Judge Robert Altham spoke of the “guilt, shame and regret” Barnes had described in his letter to the court.

He told him: “This was a particularly unpleasant 
attack upon someone who at that particular moment was extremely vulnerable. She was fast asleep in bed.

“The photographs show the damage you did to this young woman.”

Barnes carried out his attack at an address on 
St Heliers Road, Blackpool in May.

Sue Carter, prosecuting, said the two had been in an on/off relationship.

The girl was treated in Blackpool Victoria Hospital following the attack.

In 2011, Barnes was given a 44-month sentence for robbery. He was recalled to prison with an earliest release date of next April.