FENLAND: Fireman who beat up pregnant ex-partner is spared prison because of his job

A FIREMAN who beat up his pregnant ex-partner was spared a prison sentence by a judge - because of his valuable and important job. Firefighter Jaime Nobbs, 33, formerly of Wisbech, attacked primary school headteacher Karen Roofe, 41, on three separate o

A FIREMAN who beat up his pregnant ex-partner was spared a prison sentence by a judge - because of his "valuable and important" job.

Firefighter Jaime Nobbs, 33, formerly of Wisbech, attacked primary school headteacher Karen Roofe, 41, on three separate occasions and subjected her to a campaign of harassment.

In one argument he threw Miss Roofe, who was carrying his unborn twins, to the floor, kicked her, pulled her hair, tried to throttle her and left her with nine-inch bruises.

During the attack, which started after she threw a glass of beer at him, Nobbs repeatedly shouted ''Say sorry to the master''.

On a separate occasion after the relationship ended he broke into the house and lay under her bed before she discovered him and threw him out.

Nobbs, now of Peterborough, pleaded guilty to three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one count of harassment at Cambridge Crown Court on Thursday.

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He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years, 100 hours unpaid work in the community, ordered to attend an integrated domestic abuse programme and pay �500 costs.

Judge Gareth Hawkesworth told Nobbs he was spared a spell behind bars because of the valuable work he did as a member of Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.

He said: "You have performed a valuable and important part in the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service which has enormous importance and benefit.

"It is largely for that reason I am not sending to prison today."

But Judge Hawkesworth added: "Your conduct towards others in the privacy of your own home falls very far short of the conduct you display in public.

"You appear to have an inflated sense of your own self-worth and a sadistic streak.

"I hope you are thoroughly ashamed of what has been read out in court with regards to your conduct to Miss Roofe."

The court heard how Nobbs and Miss Roofe, headteacher of Bishop Creighton Primary School, Peterborough, met in August 2003 and moved in together soon afterwards.

In 2006 Miss Roofe fell pregnant but by 2007 the relationship had begun to deteriorate into increasingly frequent arguments.

Prosecuting counsel Nadia Silver said: "During her pregnancy Miss Roofe became subject to increasingly serious domestic violence at the hands of the defendant."

Miss Silver described three assaults on January 21, May 18 and November 24 2007.

Describing the third assault she said: "He grabbed her by her throat, choking her for 15 seconds.

"Miss Roofe felt she was going to black out. The following morning her mother could see red marks on her daughter's neck."

Miss Roofe moved out of the home the couple shared in Wisbech, shortly afterwards but was harassed continuously by Nobbs between January and April 2008.

Miss Silver said: "He entered the house uninvited by forcing his way past her and tampered with the windows when she was not in.

"He took items belonging to her, he lay under the bed awaiting her return and he would prowl outside intimidating Miss Roofe by his presence."

In mitigation defence counsel Thomas Brown said his client was of good character and described the relationship as "volatile".

He said: "There were many arguments and in the course of these arguments both parties lost their tempers.

"Mr Nobbs went beyond what is acceptable. He is not a bad man who habitually behaves like this."

A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service refused to give any details of Jaime Nobbs' role in the service but confirmed a member of staff had been suspended.

She said: "An internal investigation has now begun. A member of staff has been suspended while this investigation is on-going."

A domestic violence charity today (Friday) slammed Judge Gareth Hawkesworth's decision to let Jaime Nobbs walk free after abusing his partner Karen Roofe.

A spokesperson for the Cambridge branch of Women's Aid said: ''Suffering violence at the hands of your partner is a deeply damaging experience.

''This experience is not lessened by the occupation of your abuser.

''It is my opinion that a man's high social standing should be seen as an aggravating factor in a case, not a mitigating factor.

''Violence against women is an epidemic in our society.

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