Woman burnt with lighter because she slept on the couch

A FATHER of three tried to wake his sleeping partner up by burning her nose with a cigarette lighter.

At Ipswich District Court last week, Phillip James Shaxson pleaded guilty to one count of assault occasioning bodily harm.

Crown prosecutor Matt Le Grand said in the lead-up to the offence, "altercations" had taken place between Shaxson and his partner.

Mr Le Grand said the 26-year-old woman had subsequently invited her female friend to their Leichhardt house because she didn't feel safe.

The night of the assault, Shaxson's partner had fallen asleep on a couch in the living room.

Shaxson, 33, became angry at the woman because she hadn't come to bed with him.


About 11.30pm, Shaxson entered the living room and said he was going to wake his partner up.

The woman's friend watched as Shaxson suddenly leant over and held a lit lighter to his sleeping partner's nose.

Mr Le Grand said as the woman shot awake in pain, Shaxson laughed and joked he had "hardly lit the lighter". The incident took place on May 23, 2014.

The woman's nose was red and blistered as a result of the assault, with burns to the tip of her nose.

In a victim impact statement Shaxson's partner said the injury left her with scarring on her face.

The woman said during her recovery, she was unable to attend her work as a barmaid for a few weeks and lost her job as a result.

She said the incident also left her suffering from nightmares and feeling anxious around lighters.

Mr Le Grand said Shaxson's criminal history showed he had two prior convictions for assault occasioning bodily harm.

He added that it was Shaxson's fourth conviction for violence against his partner.

Defence barrister Geoff Seaholme said Shaxson and his partner had been together for 10 years in what he described was a "toxic" relationship.

Mr Seaholme said the couple both had applications for domestic violence orders against each other.

He said the couple had three children, aged four to eight years, which had been placed in Shaxson's care by the Department of Child Safety.

Mr Seaholme said a doctor had described the victim's injuries as 'superficial' and that his client had not offended since the incident.

A psychological report revealed Shaxson suffered oppositional defiant disorder which resulted in him being impulsive and quick to anger.

Mr Seaholme said his client was receiving treatment for the condition and had made steps to seek psychiatric assistance.

Shaxson was convicted and sentenced to 12 months in jail and released on parole.

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