Man who punched, choked girlfriend gets federal jail term

Rosie Mullaley
Published on July 13, 2013
John Paul Ford chats with his lawyer Michelle Coady
Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

A man who assaulted his girlfriend and was the subject of a police manhunt for several weeks in May has been given a hefty prison term.

In provincial court in St. John’s Friday, John Paul Ford was sentenced to two years plus a day.

The 41-year-old pleaded guilty to a slew of charges, including leaving the scene of an accident, assault, damaging property, making harassing phone calls, failing to appear in court, assault and breaching court orders.

He also had a number of Highway Traffic Act violations, including driving without a licence or insurance, and has more than $15,000 in unpaid fines.

The charges stem from four separate incidents.

The first incident happened

Oct. 11, 2012, when Ford was involved in a collision with another vehicle. After the accident, Ford told the man driving the other car he needed to go home to get his personal information.

He told him he’d be back. Two hours later, when Ford didn’t come back, the man called police.

After an extensive search, police found him six days later at a Mount Pearl hardware store.

The next three incidents were all committed against his former girlfriend, who he met online and had been living with.

On May 13 of this year, Ford assaulted the woman in her Conception Bay South home after an argument that continued over a couple of days.

During the heated dispute, Ford punched the woman in the head and body, choked her, pushed her, bit her ear and threatened to kill her.

While pinning her to the bed, he said to her, “You’re not so tough now, are you?”

He also damaged the house, by kicking a table and throwing an arrangement of flowers out the window.

The woman, who suffered bruising, called police, who searched for Ford for a few weeks with no luck.

During that time, Ford texted and called the woman at least 20 times and threatened her.

During one telephone conversation, he said to her, “I should’ve killed you when I had the chance. You think I’m afraid of guns and the police? See how crazy I am. I’m going to kill you.”

The sentence handed down by Judge Mike Madden was in keeping with a joint recommendation by Crown prosecutor Jennifer Colford and defence lawyer Michelle Coady.

Colford pointed out that Ford has a “significant” criminal record, with convictions for such things as assault, uttering threats, as well as a slew of breaches of court orders.

In speaking about Ford’s crimes against his former girlfriend, she said, “When a relationship is over, it’s over and you have absolutely no right to assault your partner.”

Coady said that Ford recognizes he has problems controlling his anger and that he needs to change his behaviour.

“He’s at the stage in his life now when he knows he can’t do this,” she said.

Coady said once Ford completes his jail term, he plans to live in Moncton, where he had lived before and led a crime-free life for several years.

Twitter: @TelyCourt