Judge at Preston Crown Court airs frustration over sentence for Blackpool thug Andrew McCabe who assaulted girlfriend who had been in hospital

A judge told a court in Preston he was powerless to send a violent man to jail for punching and kicking his girlfriend just 24 hours after she had been discharged from hospital following a burst stomach ulcer.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Judge Richard Archer said Blackpool thug Andrew McCabe's offence was so serious it was worthy of an immediate prison sentence.

But because the 36-year-old had been making "positive rehabilitation" after being sentenced twice for other violent offences in Northern Ireland during the time the case took to come to court in England, his hands were tied over what punishment he could pass.

Two-year prison sentence suspended for two years

The man appeared at Preston Crown Court.The man appeared at Preston Crown Court.
The man appeared at Preston Crown Court.
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

McCabe, who lived in Keswick Road, Blackpool, but who is now living and working in Belfast, was given a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years after being convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He was also ordered to do 40 days of rehabilitation activities and take part in an alcohol treatment programme for six months. In addition Judge Archer made him the subject of a restraining order, prohibiting him from any contact with his former girlfriend for seven years.

He punched and kicked his girlfriend who had just got out of hospital

The Crown Court heard that he had "difficulty dealing with his emotions, anger etc."

The day after the woman had been released from hospital in Blackpool following internal bleeding she was assaulted by McCabe during an argument at home. He punched and kicked her to the face and head.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She was later found alone and in a distressed state in a nearby block of flats.

Traumatised by his actions

Since the attack it was said she had felt embarrassed, ashamed and frightened by sudden noises. She had constantly been looking over her shoulder and had been prescribed anti-depressants by her GP.

"The offence was committed against a victim who was vulnerable, having recently been discharged from hospital," said Judge Archer.

McCabe's barrister Jack Troup said the relationship with the victim had been a relatively short one and since the offence his client had relocated to Northern Ireland and had "turned his life around."

Andrew McCabe has made ‘significant steps’

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"He has made significant steps," he told Judge Archer. He was now a forklift truck driver, having been taken on full-time by a company in Belfast. He had been living in a hostel, but had been offered a grant to help him get a permanent place of his own.

Read More
Fleetwood paedophile branded ‘dirty old man’ after online chatroom sting

In addition he had been ordered to do 90 hours unpaid work by a court in Northern Ireland and he was serving that while also working.

"There are green shoots of a possibility of him returning to a law-abiding life," said Mr Troup. "He has managed to make some sort of fresh start."

‘For me to give him a sentence that he deserves is almost impossible’

Judge Archer expressed his frustration that he was not able to pass the appropriate sentence for McCabe's crime due to the two court appearances in Northern Ireland in the intervening time.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He described the offence as a "serious domestic assault" and told McCabe: "For me to give him a sentence that he deserves is almost impossible.

"I know from the multiple hearings which have taken place between conviction and sentence what I think of your offending behaviour and what it deserves. You have a proven history of violence, you have a proven history of domestic violence."

He said that in order to protect the public he would ordinarily have handed down an immediate custodial sentence. But he added: "That power has been taken out of my hands by the chronology of your offending."

He said the shortest jail sentence he could give McCabe which was capable of being suspended was two years. And even though he believed that was "wholly inappropriate" and McCabe was a risk to the public, that was the sentence he was having to impose.