‘I was cowering’: Woman recounts baseball bat attack

ANGRY when his Johnny Cash music was interrupted by his downstairs live-in lover who wanted to watch Married at First Sight, Damien Pawluk grabbed a baseball bat and bashed her, causing horrific injuries.

An Ipswich court heard the victim was beaten black and blue and suffered a broken elbow in the assault.

Pawluk, a long-distance road train driver, claimed the woman's injuries were not the result of a beating with a bat but caused when she fell onto a coffee table, and that it happened when he was defending himself from her.

Following his defended trial at Ipswich District Court, a jury found 43-year-old Pawluk was guilty of assault causing bodily harm when armed.

The offence was committed at Laidley on the evening of February 26 last year.

Judge Bernard Porter QC criticised the violence as being frenzied, saying the crime justified a jail term of 3 ½ years.

When Pawluk's 358 days already spent in jail for other matters (which could not be declared on this offence) was taken into account a jail term of 2 ½ years was imposed.

Prosecutor Victoria Adams opened the Crown case, saying there had been an on-off relationship for five years that started when the woman moved in as a paying housemate.

The assault took place after Pawluk spent the afternoon listening to loud music on his laptop.

The court heard he yelled at the woman, then punched her in the head with a closed fist before going to get a baseball bat.

While being repeatedly struck, the woman curled into a foetal position on a couch and suffered bruises, grazes, a black eye, broken nose, broken elbow and lacerations to her right shin.

She underwent surgery for her fractured elbow.

"He says she was the aggressor and attacked him," Ms Adams said.

Defence barrister Mitch Rawlings said if there was any doubt about whether Pawluk picked up a baseball bat then he should be found not guilty.

The woman, 34, gave evidence saying Pawluk had been in a 'strange mood' leading up to the assault.

"We'd made plans to watch Married At First Sight and an argument started when I tried to turn off his laptop to watch the show," she said.

"He went nuts.

"I couldn't count how many times he hit me; my arms, my legs, my back, my feet, when I rolled into ball on the couch.

"I knew I'd broken my arm. It was painful. I sat there crying.

"He asked if I wanted paramedics. I said I didn't want to get him into trouble."

The jury was shown photos of the victim's injuries.

Under cross-examination by defence barrister Micth Rawlings, the woman said Pawluk seemed upset by a Johnny Cash song he was playing loudly on repeat.

A verbal argument then escalated into violence.

She denied falling over a coffee table, and told the court that after being told by Pawluk to go back downstairs, she told him she was unable to move due to her injuries.

"I said I couldn't as I knew my arm was broken and thought maybe my leg was broken," she said.

"I was cowering.

"I curled into a foetal ball. That's where I got bruises under my feet."

The trial also heard evidence of distinctive 'tramline' bruises - the pattern apparently left when hit by a cylindrical object.

A 000 call was made at 4am and police and ambulance arrived soon after.

Following the jury's guilty verdict, Judge Porter said Pawluk's attack had been unprovoked, frenzied and sustained, and very dangerous.

Judge Porter said there had been a lack of remorse shown by Pawluk, and he took into account the ongoing suffering felt by the woman. Pawluk was given parole jail release date of November 20 this year.