A COWDENBEATH man has been jailed for 13 months for a catalogue of domestic violence against his wife.

The sheriff said Robert McNeil’s prison term would have been longer but he was restricted in his sentencing by a Crown decision to downgrade the seriousness of the case.

McNeil battered his wife in her home in Cowdenbeath, punching her and pulling clumps of hair from her head.

He later attacked and kicked her in a car outside the main door of the Victoria Hospital

McNeil, 42, of Broad Street, Cowdenbeath, appeared from custody at Dunfermline Sheriff Court and admitted a string of charges.

On March 29, at a different address in Cowdenbeath, he assaulted his wife by seizing her by the throat, punched her on the head and body repeatedly, seized her by the hair repeatedly, pulling sections of hair out of her head, pulled her to the ground, seized her by the body repeatedly, threw her onto a sofa, prevented her from leaving the room and pinned her down by sitting on top of her, all to her injury.


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On the same day, he made offensive remarks to his wife, shouted, swore, threatened to kill her, threatened to assault another female, then pregnant, if she contacted the police for assistance and seized a phone from her in an attempt to stop her summoning help.

He then breached a bail condition imposed on March 30 not to contact his wife when on April 12 and 13, he was in her house in Cowdenbeath.

On October 28, at a public car park at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, he assaulted his wife by seizing her by the hair, pushed her on the body and kicked her repeatedly.

He also resisted police officers attempting to arrest him.

Depute fiscal Jill Currie said the couple had been married for 11 years but had different addresses at the time. The first incident occurred at the woman’s home.

They had gone to bed at 11pm but at around 2am, an argument began. He grabbed her by the throat, pulled chunks of hair from her head and said: “I’m going to murder you,” the court was told.

She ran into the living room but he grabbed her again and started punching her.

There was another woman present in the house. She was pregnant and McNeil told her: “If you phone the police, I’ll kick the bairn out of you.”

In the later incident, his wife had been feeling unwell and he had driven her to hospital at around 9pm.

At the drop-off point outside the hospital’s main door an argument started between them.

This was heard by hospital security staff who intervened after seeing the woman “looking frightened”, the depute continued.

McNeil closed the car doors and reversed. A security officer asked him to stop.

McNeil did so but grabbed his wife, trying to throw her out of the car and when he could not manage this, he began to kick her.

The Crown decided to reduce the matter from solemn to summary procedure, cutting the length of jail term which could be imposed.

Sheriff Charles Macnair said: “I find it quite remarkable that anyone could have taken such a decision. I suspect part of the reason was the present backlog of solemn matters.”

McNeill admitted five separate offences and Sheriff Macnair said that, in his opinion, for the first one alone the appropriate sentence would have been three years in jail. However, that was not open to him because of the Crown’s decision.

He imposed a total jail term of 13 months and a two-year non-harassment order.