Published Monday, 04 February 2013
The accused admitted the charges. (© UTV)
Deputy Recorder Judge Corinne Philpott QC, told 43-year-old Henry Thomas Magee that having served at least half of the sentence it will be for the authorities to decide how much more of the term he serves before it is safe to release him.
Magee, from Parklands, Belfast, who admitted charges of assault, false imprisonment and threats to kill, was also ordered to complete an extended licence period which could see him being under supervised parole for up to five years.
The Crown Court judge also permanently banned Magee from using internet dating sites without written permission and ordered him to reveal his violent past to any potential partner.
Judge Philpott said that although Magee had attacked his partner twice in the past, she mistakenly agreed to meet him again for dinner in May 2011, and to return to his apartment afterwards.
Although the evening initially went well, there were "unresolved matters" between them and he began to punch and slap her about the face with the back of his hand following an argument over the contents of her 'Facebook page'.
"This whole incident was fuelled by a combination of drink and jealousy," said Judge Philpott, and that: "It is quite clear she had a very frightening experience and held against her will".
At one stage, said the judge, the woman, who thought she might be smothered with a cushion, had even contemplated taking her chances by jumping from the apartment balcony.
Eventually she got Magee to stop his attack by claiming she might be pregnant.
"In my view this lady is extremely lucky she did not have more serious injuries .....in what was a sustained and vicious attack on a defenceless woman," she added.
Judge Philpott said it was also "quite clear from the probation report and again from any reading of these papers .... that this man is a significant risk to any female partner he may have in the future".
The judge added later that the only real answer to that was for anyone willing to risk a relationship with him to be told upfront what type of person he has been in the past.
Prosecution lawyer David Russell told an earlier hearing that Magee's offending was borne out his unwarranted possessiveness and jealousy.
The lawyer said the core of what happened next was also down to alcohol, because with drink onboard, Magee became a different person.
Mr Russell said that what occurred was clearly a sustained and unwarranted attack in which his former partner was the victim of a very nasty assault, aimed directly at her face with punching and slapping on numerous occasions.
Defence QC Gavin Duffy said Magee recognised his wrong-doing and appreciated that it is not acceptable behaviour, but unfortunately his relationships were clearly driven by suspicion and jealousy.
He added that alcohol was also a problem, because with drink taken, he totally lost it.
Mr Duffy also told the court that Magee's behavioural problems stemmed from childhood when he'd witnessed his father beating his mother, and also suffered beatings himself.
He said that it often followed that such youngster became abusers themselves in later life. In her final comments Judge Philpott echoed his sentiments, adding if there ever was such a case, then Magee's was a prime example.