A MAN with a military background spat in the face of his ex-partner at a convenience store as a result of a breakdown in their relationship and issues over childcare, a court heard.

Khyl Haines, of Marsh Street in Barrow, attended a Co-op in Barrow on December 13 last year when he came into contact with his former partner, South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court heard.

Prosecutor Lee Dacre said the defendant – aged 37 - called his ex-girlfriend a ‘brat’ and then spat in her face while in the presence of his two children.

Mr Dacre told the court the defendant was challenged about the spittle by the complainant’s father and sister, who were also present with her at the store on Harrel Lane.

Haines, who had the custody of his two children, then spat in the face of her two family members, the prosecution said.

In defence, Michael Graham said his client did not accept that the children were in the premises at the time.  

Mr Graham said: “He says it was his turn to have his children for a nativity play at school. There was due to be a handover on the day in question but there was a change in access in abrupt terms.

“As a result, there was a confrontation which has led him to acting in the way he did. He fully accepts it was inappropriate behaviour and he is genuinely remorseful for his actions.

“The offending behaviour is very much out of character and is a direct response to a breakdown in their relationship and reduction in childcare.

“He recently left the army having had a constructive military career.”

Haines pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to three counts of assault by beating on June 26 and was sentenced to a 24-month community order as punishment.

Before imposing the sentence, Chair of the bench Gillian Sutton said: “This was a very unpleasant incident. Spitting at three people is quite disgusting. It must have been very upsetting for the people involved.”

As part of the order, Haines is required to complete five rehabilitation requirement days, 30 days of an accredited program and an eight-week curfew preventing him from leaving his home address between the hours of 8 pm – 8am.

Magistrates also ordered Haines pay £50 in compensation to each victim.

No orders for costs or surcharge were sought.