Jail for Rugby man who sent Christmas Eve threat

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A Rugby man punched his girlfriend in the face, leaving her with two black eyes, after months of sending her threatening text messages.

James Hoggins, 21, of Grosvenor Road, Rugby, was jailed for ten months for the assault, with a consecutive six-month sentence for harassment.

Prosecutor Ian Ball said that the couple argued after she returned to the home following a night’s work in town bars. He hurled abuse at her and punched her at least once, knocking her back against a radiator, causing a graze to the back of her head.

She blacked out. When she woke at 10am she had two black eyes.

At first he would not let her go out, but did let her phone work, before relenting and allowing her to leave in the belief that she was going to seek medical attention.

But instead the woman y went to the police to report the assault, and Hoggins was arrested. In her statement to the police, she also made reference to a series of abusive and threatening texts he had sent her between December and March. On her phone the police found a total of 23 aggressive or threatening texts from Hoggins.

He even sent her one on Christmas Day telling her: “If you’re not here to open my presents I’ll stamp on your head.”

Andrew Tucker, defending, said the incidents showed that at that time in his life, Hoggins was immature and “had little idea how to behave in a relationship.”

Mr Tucker suggested that might be a result of deep-rooted experiences in his upbringing by an alcoholic mother who died when he was in his teens, as a result of which he went to live with a father he hardly knew. He added that he was now in a new relationship and had shown a very positive improvement in his attitude.

But jailing Hoggins, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “Violence is always more serious when it happens in the home, because the person who looks to you for love and support is met with violence. I accept you had little example of happy relationships in your background to follow; but in a case like this it must be custody. It takes courage to report this type of offence, and the message must go out that those who commit it go to prison.”