A recovering alcoholic said he was ‘truly sorry’ for injuring his former partner.

Former Leeds rugby youth player Joshua Mooney met the woman at a rehabilitation facility where they were both receiving treatment, then moved into her Banbury home.

Oxford Crown Court heard on March 28, the 34-year-old had been challenged by his then partner after she found a bottle of vodka concealed inside a coat.

He was said to have struck her in the mouth with his right elbow, leaving her with a cut lip. When police arrived at the woman’s home they could see signs of a disturbance. Shortly afterwards they found the couple in a nearby park.

Bail conditions imposed two weeks earlier banned him from contacting his girlfriend. Prosecutor Robert Lindsey said Mooney had moved back by mutual consent as she did not want to be alone.

Interviewed by the police, Mooney said he’d been going out to buy more alcohol when his partner grabbed him and he flung his arm back. He claimed he’d knocked a cup she was holding, which hit her lip. He told police: “I know it was a terrible thing to do. It shouldn’t have happened.”

In a letter to the judge, trained roofer Mooney said he was ‘truly sorry and remorseful’ for the injury that his partner suffered. He had never hit a woman before and was ashamed.

He added: “I accept the punishment that will be handed out today. I am fortunate to have a loving family by my side to help me tackle my alcohol addiction when I leave [custody].” Mooney wished his ex-partner ‘all the best’ in her recovery.

Mitigating, Lucy Ffrench said her client had worked in the roofing industry since he was 18. He’d got into the habit of spending his wages on alcohol and, later, cocaine. Stints in rehabilitation facilities in the past had been unsuccessful, but he was motivated to kick his addiction.

Mooney, of Horsforth, Leeds, pleaded guilty at the Magistrates’ Court to causing actual bodily harm.

Recorder John Ryder QC imposed a two year community order, noting that Mooney had already spent time in HMP Bullingdon on remand. He must complete up to 20 days rehabilitation with the probation service and a restraining order prevents him from contacting his former partner for the foreseeable future.

He told the defendant: “In my view and it may be one that you share, the important thing here is cut this addiction to and abuse of alcohol. If you don’t it’s going to distort your life from a path that otherwise would be essentially responsible, successful and fulfilling.”

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