Ex-boyfriend avoids jail after battering Stevenage woman during alcohol-fuelled arguments

Michael McKenna, pictured outside Stevenage Magistrates' Court, was given a suspended sentence.

Michael McKenna, pictured outside Stevenage Magistrates' Court, was given a suspended sentence. - Credit: Archant

A man who battered his former girlfriend during alcohol-fuelled arguments has avoided jail after being given two suspended custodial sentences.

Michael McKenna was convicted of assault last month after Stevenage magistrates were told how he beat Toni Skutela at the flat they shared in the town’s Lonsdale Court.

Labourer McKenna – who now lives in South London – repeatedly hit her in the face after an argument got out of hand in April, leaving her with injuries which included two black eyes, a swollen cheek and bruises. Miss Skutela was pinned down on her bed, but managed to wriggle free and bit the end of his nose off.

On a separate occasion the following month, the 30-year-old punched Miss Skutela and threw her around the flat.

Stevenage magistrates have now handed McKenna two 12-week prison sentences, to run concurrently, which were suspended for two years. He was also given a restraining order against Miss Skutela, must attend a Building Better Relationships course and must pay £1,000 in court costs and compensation.

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Magistrates said the custodial sentence – which will only be triggered if McKenna offends again or does meet the conditions imposed on him – was given due to the fact the offences were alcohol-fuelled and that there was a child present.

When finding him guilty last month, magistrate Leah Bretton told him: “We are satisfied that you were the aggressor, we do not accept that you acted in self-defence.”

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