A MACHINIST has been ordered to pay his ex-partner £150 in compensation after he threw a dart into her arm.

John Patrick Dobson, 36, of Kingsway, Chester, admitted being “reckless” after a few drinks at the Dee Miller pub on July 12 this year and apologised to Leah Hewitt.

But a subsequent argument about his alleged infidelity saw him spit on her and then punch her in the face when he saw her preparing to spit back.

Dobson pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and was sentenced to a 12-month community order at Chester Magistrates Court yesterday.

He must carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and a 35-day rehabilitation activity, as well as paying £85 in court costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

Rob Youds, prosecuting, said the couple had been in a 15-month relationship which Miss Hewitt described as “rocky”.

At the time of the incident, Dobson was playing darts in their local pub and she was chatting to some friends.

“Everything was fine,” Mr Youds told the court. “The defendant was playing and she was talking to some of the others when suddenly the defendant has turned around and she’s been struck by the dart that’s landed in her arm causing it to bleed. He apologised to her.”

She went outside and a short time later Dobson also left the pub speaking on his phone, seemingly unaware that Miss Hewitt was within earshot.

He was reportedly talking to another woman, who he called “baby”, and told her he would “come and see her if he could”.

The defendant tried to pass the conversation off as a “joke” when Miss Hewitt confronted him – an excuse she did not believe as another friend told her Dobson had been wanting to rekindle a relationship with his ex-girlfriend.

Tempers then flared as the pair argued outside the pub.

“He spat in her face,” Mr Youds said. “She wanted to spit back at him and he punched her in the face and hit her again, causing her to fall backwards.”

Dobson, who has nine previous convictions for 11 offences, was arrested and interviewed by police.

It emerged that the assaults put him in breach of a conditional discharge he received for battery against two youths he had confronted over a damaged fence on Kingsway.

James Bagby, defending, said his client had co-operated fully with police and made full admissions.

“The defendant is extremely remorseful for his behaviour,” he said. “He recognises the issues he has that need to be addressed. He has suffered with depression in the past.

“He is taking steps to avoid this type of situation in the future.”