A judge jailed a violent offender almost 16 years after his terrified teenage girlfriend jumped off a second floor balcony to escape from his jealous rage.
Leeds Crown Court heard Michael Patrick Holmes had subsequently failed to attend court to face justice for his attack on Tracey Coup in July 1997 during which she also suffered further serious complications from her escape.
But he was later identified by authorities in America as a wanted person, extradited to his native Eire and then brought back to the UK under a European arrest warrant.
Finally yesterday (May 7) Holmes, 40, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm to Miss Coup in July 1997 and was sentenced to three years two months in jail with a further four months consecutive for failing to attend court.
Holmes was 24 and Miss Coup 18 when they met in Birmingham although she was originally from East Yorkshire.
Andrew Stranex, prosecuting, said Holmes obtained a flat in Spalding Towers, Lincoln Green, Leeds in June 1997 and she moved in. On Friday, July 4 she was out socialising with a male friend and when she returned home Holmes was angry.
“He began a sustained assault on her, hitting and punching her on her stomach and back, dragging her by her hair, slapping her face and kicking her. He then got a broom handle and began assaulting her with it hitting her on her head, legs and body,” said Mr Stranex.
She said she had earlier seen a piece of wood in the flat. When Holmes left the flat she thought he had gone to get it and went out on to the balcony. When he returned saying “You’re a dead person” she was so terrified that she jumped from the balcony. At hospital doctors found she had swelling and bruising to her face and upper arms and weals around her shoulder blade. She had fractured her pubic bone and lacerated her spleen.
Christopher Attwooll, for Holmes, said the relationship had been stormy but Holmes had not thought the matter was going to court. Jailing Holmes Judge James Spencer QC said he had moved on and made a new life in the USA. He added: “That is all very well, but before you left this area you were responsible for a violent attack upon the woman who was then your partner. It was a wicked assault.”
* The first paragraph of this story has been amended to make it clear that Holmes was jailed almost 16 years after he committed the attack, not for 16 years. While our original report was an accurate summary of the hearing in all other respects, we now understand from information provided by Holmes that Miss Coup was 18 at the time they met, rather than 17, and we have amended the copy accordingly.