Slapping girlfriend was a cry for help

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A jobless man told a court he needed help after slapping his partner in front of three young children.

Jonathan Sparkes hit his girlfriend following a row between them at their family home in Downham, Lynn magistrates heard this week.

The assault happened in front of her two children, aged four and three, and the couple’s nine-month-old baby.

Susanna Chowdhury, prosecuting, said: “There was an argument between the two parties and both of them were using abusive language towards each other.

“The defendant then slapped the complainant across the face and this occurred in front of the three children.”

Sparkes, 31, who gave his address as Birchwood Street, Lynn, originally denied assaulting his partner on September 7 last year, but changed his plea to guilty last month.

He was sentenced on Tuesday, when his solicitor Charlotte Winchester said he was “incredibly sorry” for what happened.

She said: “He wants the relationship to work and is prepared to work with all the agencies available to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

“Social services are involved with the family and they have offered to get him counselling. He wants help.”

Sparkes was given a two-year community order and 100 hours of unpaid work.

Magistrates decided not to impose compensation as it “would add to their relationship troubles” but ordered him to pay a £60 victim surcharge.