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Man threw child against wall during 'catalogue of abuse'

James Skelly subjected his ex-partner and her three children to 'hundreds' of beatings.

Court: Skelly jailed for four years.
Court: Skelly jailed for four years.

A man subjected his former partner and her three children to "hundreds" of beatings as part of a "dreadful catalogue of abuse".

James Skelly attacked the three children - aged between seven and nine - of a woman he had started seeing over the period of 21 months.

In one attack he threw one of the children against a wall so hard it was damaged.

He told one of his victims in another attack: "I wish you were dead."

One of his victims later told police Skelly had battered the children "hundreds" of times.

The 32-year-old, from Hawick Drive in Dundee, was jailed at the city's sheriff court on Wednesday for four years.

Skelly was only caught after attacking the children's mother, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the youngsters, prompting her to beg her own mother for help to get away from him.

When he was eventually arrested Skelly claimed to officers his relationship with the woman was "fantastic" and denied the allegations of abuse.

Fiscal depute Kirsten Thomson told Dundee Sheriff Court all three children had told police and social workers of the catalogue of abuse they suffered.

She said: "The oldest child recalled an occasion when he was grabbed and thrown against a wall, damaging it. He also remembered occasions when he was kicked in the stomach while in the garden.

"The middle child disclosed an occasion when he was kicked and told 'piss off you f****r, I wish you were dead'.

"He said the accused was always shouting and swearing at him had punched him on the body for no reason."

'This is a dreadful catalogue of abuse against vulnerable people, women and children.'
Sheriff Alastair Brown

Ms Thomson added: "The youngest child recalled being kicked in the body because the toilet was broken and kicked because of an issue in the garden.

"He said these incidents had happened hundreds of times. He recalled one incident when all three had been misbehaving and the accused had picked them up by the neck and pinned them against a wall.

"The accused would often refer to one of the children as 'gay' and called them names like 'little b******s'."

Skelly also admitted attacking another ex-partner, choking her until she began to feel light headed.

That attack prompted her to flee her flat in the middle of the night to seek refuge at Dundee Women's Aid.

He pled guilty on indictment to five charges of assault and one of behaving in a threatening and abusive manner committed at addresses in Dundee and Burntisland, Fife, between December 2009 and December 2014.

Defence solicitor David Holmes urged the court to limit the sentence handed down to Skelly.

Sheriff Alastair Brown imposed a four-year jail term, with a further one year under supervision in the community upon his release.

He said: "This is a dreadful catalogue of abuse against vulnerable people, women and children.

"In the circumstances it appears to be almost impossible to avoid a significant custodial sentence."

Detective Inspector Muriel Fuller added: "James Skelly assaulted the women involved in this case causing them to live in fear of constant violence from him.

"The Domestic Abuse Task Force carried out a protracted investigation into this case and I hope this conviction and sentence sends out a clear message that Police Scotland will robustly and sensitively investigate domestic abuse and that those who perpetrate it have nowhere to hide.

"I would like to take this opportunity to commend the victims who have assisted the police with this inquiry. Their bravery and courage has ensured that James Skelly has been brought to justice."

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