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Suspended jail term for man who terrorised wife and children

A man who terrorised his wife with a knife and then smashed into her car in which her three children rode as passengers was yesterday given a suspended jail term after the woman forgave him.

The incident took place on April 24, 2005 when the couple got into an argument at the woman's house in Marsascala while the man was drunk. He got hold of a knife and threatened her. She was so scared she grabbed their two small children and her six-month-old baby and ran to her car. He gave chase in a Mini Minor and, still in Marsascala, rammed her car, hitting the passenger door on the side where the baby was sitting. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

The woman immediately filed a police report and shortly afterwards her estranged husband phoned to tell her he was at her house and was smashing everything up.

The woman went straight back home to find that he had broken a window. He started threatening to kill her or make her spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.

She called the police again and he tried to ram her car a second time but was stopped by police officers who had, by then arrived at the scene.

In a police statement, the man admitted to threatening his estranged wife but refused to answer any other questions about the incident.

His wife testified that she forgave her estranged husband and that he radically changed when he drank too much. She added that she held nothing against him because he helped her a lot. He was also attending group therapy sessions.

Magistrate Jacqueline Padovani said that although the prosecution had produced a number of previous judgments regarding the man, there were no witnesses to prove that the judgments actually were about him and, therefore, he could not be found guilty of relapsing.

There would usually be a witness from the Court Registry present to confirm the identity of the accused but this time there was no one to do so.

The man was given a two-year jail term suspended for four years after the magistrate considered the circumstances of the case and, particularly, the fact that his wife had forgiven him. She also suspended the man's driving licence for a year and fined him €582.34.

Names are not being published to preserve the identity of the woman and the children.

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