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Ex-democracy reporter fined for offence committed days after he left job

Ellis ButcherA journalist has been fined after making his partner fearful of violence in an offence committed days after he left his job.

Ellis Butcher, who was until recently a local democracy reporter in Cumbria, admitted common assault after putting his fist near his partner’s face to show her how badly the family dog had bitten it.

The Carlisle News & Star reports the offence took place on New Year’s Eve last year, 11 days after Butcher, pictured, had left his job.

Carlisle magistrates heard how the journalist, who worked for Newsquest titles in Cumbria under the BBC-funded scheme, was “genuinely sorry” for his actions.

Karen Templeton, defending, told the court: “He stressed that nothing like this has ever happened before. He was with [his now former partner] for many years.

“But a number of factors last year were causing him a great deal of stress. He was struggling with the death of his mum and his father was not well.

“Most importantly, he had a lot of pressure at work and the culmination was that he left that work on December 20; which in turn left him with more worries about finances.”

The court heard Butcher had been bitten by the family dog on the night of the assault, and he had argued with his partner after she arrived on the scene.

Ms Templeton added: “He raised his fist to her face but he didn’t touch her; he was trying to make the point that he had blood dripping off his hand, but he accepts that she anticipated violence and that constitutes common assault.”

The court heard Butcher had lost his relationship and had now relocated to the north of Scotland.

Ms Templeton said there had been “no further trouble” and Butcher had effectively punished himself by moving away, adding “I’d suggest that he is not someone who is ever likely to be before the court again.”

District Judge Gerald Chalk gave Butcher credit for his guilty plea and noted that he was a man of previous good character.

He said: “Whilst I accept there was a breach of trust and it occurs while in drink, I note there was no physical attack; no physical violence.

“It is just a threat of violence which was perceived.”

He fined Butcher £250 and ordered him to pay £85 costs as well as £32 to fund victim services.