A SHOP employee who assaulted his now ex-girlfriend after spending an evening with another woman has been given a community punishment.

Nathaniel Alexander Douglas, 30, told York Magistrates Court he now faces a disciplinary hearing at work because of his conviction.

A probation report said police and prosecution papers show Douglas subjected his then girlfriend to physical, emotional and psychological abuse on an increasingly frequent basis from January last year.

But Douglas had denied this when interviewed for the report after he was convicted of assaulting the girlfriend, a charge he also denied.

District judge Adrian Lower said Douglas had probably hoped the victim would not reveal what he had done.

"You were wrong," he said. "She had the courage to go to court and as a result she had to relive an obviously upsetting incident.

"On occasion she was in tears at having to go over what had happened to her."

He gave Douglas, of Phoenix Boulevard, off Leeman Road, York, a 12-month community order with 150 hours' unpaid work and 20 days' rehabilitative activities and ordered him to pay £625 prosecution costs and an £85 statutory surcharge.

He also made a restraining order banning Douglas from ever contacting the girlfriend again.

At his trial, the victim said late on June 22, Douglas had taken her phone, searched it to find out whom she had been communicating with, pushed her onto a bed and hit her in the face.

Then when she said she wanted to sleep because she had to go to work early the next morning, he had shone his phone's torch into her face.

When asked why she waited a day before calling police, she replied: "I was in an abusive relationship. I still loved him despite what he did. I felt sorry for him."

Douglas claimed the relationship had been over by then and that it was none of the girlfriend's business that he had spent the evening with another woman.

He claimed she had attacked him in anger when he returned home. He denied taking her phone and shining a light in her eye and claimed he had slept in the same bed as her after she had attacked him.