A man committed a “vicious and unprovoked” assault on the mother of his five-week-old son in the middle of Swansea city centre because he didn’t like the name she had chosen for the child. Ricky Morris, 31, approached his former partner Jodie Harris as she was out shopping with the child in a pushchair on May 13 this year.
Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard how Ms Harris was pushing the newborn in his buggy when she was approached by Morris in Plymouth Street at around 11am. The pair, who had known each other since they were children, had entered into a relationship in January 2021. In a statement read to the court Ms Harris said the pair engaged in a lot of drug use together and described the relationship as the “worst time of her life.”
Several months after commencing the relationship Ms Morris discovered she was pregnant. At this point the court heard how she vowed to stop all drug use. Around the same time Morris was recalled to prison for a previous offence. The court heard he had “promised” his partner he would also stop taking recreational drugs when he was released from prison. According to Ms Harris this didn’t happen and she ended the relationship in August of the same year.
Ms Harris gave birth to their child last spring while the pair remained separated. The court heard how Morris had limited contacted with the child but had expressed that he was unhappy with the name given to his son. He began leaving Ms Harris persistent voicemails regarding this.
On the day of the assault Ms Harris was shopping alone in Swansea city centre with her son when she was approached by Morris who consistently asked what she had named the boy and laughed. He also asked to touch the child which Ms Harris declined. The court heard an argument occurred and Morris punched Ms Harris to her face.
The court heard how Ms Harris hit him away and continued to walk down the street. He then followed her and punched her to the left side of her face. As part of the altercation Ms Harris let go of the pram and the court heard how she was “petrified he was going to take [the baby]”. CCTV footage of the assault from a nearby business showed members of the public intervening and rushing out of shops to assist.
Morris admitted actual bodily harm. Lisa Jones, prosecuting, read a victim personal impact statement to the court which described how Ms Harris no longer wants to go out alone. Ms Jones added the victim had sustained serious bruising and swelling to her face and arm and had attended the emergency department at Morriston Hospital.
Liam Francis, mitigating, said Morris had “no intention of causing injury” to Ms Harris and that it was not a premeditated attack. He said that he had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and that “he knows he needs an intervention”. He argued that an immediate custodial sentence would not give the defendant the opportunity to complete rehabilitation work.
In sentencing him judge Neal Thomas said Morris assaulted “a woman who ought to be able to trust you” in what he described as a “vicious and unprovoked assault”. Morris was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison. The judge also imposed a restraining order on Morris prohibiting him from contacting his victim for two years.