Vicious thug, 30, used plug and flex to publicly FLOG his pregnant girlfriend – but is spared jail

A thug who publicly beat his pregnant girlfriend in the street and flogged her with an electric plug and lead has been sent on a Government programme to help him build ‘better relationships’.

Joshua Hibbert, 30, whipped Jennifer Molyneux during a vicious campaign of violence in which she suffered imprint marks to her leg from the force of the three pronged plug hitting her and was also flogged over her back with the wire.

Hibbert was also seen, on separate occasions, pulling and dragging Miss Molyneux by her hair, punching her head and shouting at her, a court heard.

Miss Molyneux later gave birth to Hibbert’s baby and said the actions of her ex partner made her ‘feel rubbish all the time’.

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Prosecutors said Miss Molyneux has been ‘classified as a missing person by police’ and described her as being ‘particularly vulnerable due to her personal circumstances’. 

Joshua Hibbert beat his pregnant girlfriend in the street and flogged her with an electric plug during a vicious campaign of violence. At Minshull Street Crown Court he was given a suspended jail sentence and ordered to complete a Government programme for domestic abuse offenders 

Hibbert, also of Droylsden, had a previous 12-year history of violence towards an ex-partner and loved ones and was said to have ‘issues with power and control’.

But at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, he was given 27 weeks jail suspended for two years after his lawyer said he had already been behind bars for nine months whilst awaiting trial and needed ‘intervention’ to deal with his violent temper tantrums.

He will have to complete the Building Better Relationships course for domestic abuse offenders.

The court heard the couple had begun dating in May 2020.

The court heard Hibbert was also seen pulling and dragging Miss Molyneux by her hair, punching her in the head and shouting at her

The court heard Hibbert was also seen pulling and dragging Miss Molyneux by her hair, punching her in the head and shouting at her

Adam White prosecuting said: ‘She initially described the relationship as being a good one. There were arguments occasionally but sometimes, he became violent with her and it’s some time after she falls pregnant that the relationship changes quite significantly.

‘She reported the defendant routinely shouting at her. She says he set out to argue with her, often using objects as well as his fists to inflict violence. The complainant struggles to remember due to the frequency of the incidents when the first occurred. Some of those matters would be reported to the police at times. The picture she paints is of recurring violence and an abusive relationship.’

Mr White said in September last year, Hibbert was seen pulling and dragging Miss Molyneux by her hair.

Zak Brown was with his partner Jade Hewitson outside her flat when they saw Miss Molyneux and the defendant stood outside. Mr Brown said he witnessed the defendant taking hold of Miss Molyneux’s hair and pulling it around with his left hand, according to Mr White.

He heard Miss Molyneux saying, ‘Get off me! Get off me, Josh!’ He said the defendant was holding on for five to six seconds.

Mr White added: ‘It then seems the defendant noticed Mr Brown and his girlfriend watching and tried to make light of the situation. He pretended he was messing about. He put his arm around the complainant’s shoulder. Mr Brown asked the defendant what was going on. He just said he was “messing about”. The incident was never mentioned again.

‘In October last year Mr Brown and his partner were walking away from their flat. In front of them, on the same side of the pavement, was also the defendant and Miss Molyneux walking towards them. The defendant then punched Miss Molyneux to the head with his left hand, causing her to stagger back. They were both shouting at each other.

‘In that same month Miss Molyneux, described an incident where the defendant used an extension lead to attack her, with a plug on one end. He hit her with it, leaving a lasting imprint on her leg. He also used the wire to hit her on her back. There were marks left on her body. They were seen by Jade Hewitson, and she described the bruises as “prong marks” on the complainant’s body.

‘Miss Molyneux was pregnant at the time of these offences. The baby was born on March 25. Miss Molyneux is now classified as a missing person by the police. She can be considered someone who is particularly vulnerable due to her personal circumstances.’

Hibbert had 29 previous offences on his record including 11 assaults dating back to 2009 and had been in and out of prison. He admitted occasioning actual bodily harm and two charges of battery.

In mitigation his lawyer Michael Johnson said: ‘This is an extremely unattractive set of offences, committed by a man with an extremely unattractive record for violence.

‘But this man has been in custody for over nine months and that’s the equivalent of an 18-month sentence. In terms of punishment, that can be advanced as already being delivered.

‘He has a history of violence at perhaps not the highest level, interrupted by the imposition of prison sentences, which do not seem to have any effect on changing the defendant’s behaviour. He hurts someone. He goes to prison. He comes out. He hurts someone else, and he goes back to prison. It continues. Intervention will assist him and address the issues that mostly underlie this offending.’

Sentencing Hibbert the judge Miss Recorder Kate Cornell told him: ‘These assaults took place against a background of coercion and a toxic relationship. You are a 30-year-old man with multiple convictions.

‘You have a history of domestic issues with a previous partner and family. You struggle to cope with stress and do so through violence. You have issues with power and control. But you have had no intervention from probation for some years and clearly, this has not been helped by short periods of custody.’ 

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