Dad hit with £1,100 fine for slapping daughter, 15, in row over Snapchat photos
A dad has been hit with a £1,100 legal bill and a conviction for assault after he slapped his teenage daughter in the face during a family row over her social media use.
Gary Finn, 51, struck the 15-year old girl he regarded as “his Princess” with the back of his hand after she railed against him when he accused her of posting embarrassing pictures of him on Snapchat.
It is thought Finn had asked the teenager how she would like it if he posted similar pictures of her online – but the pair began tussling when he grabbed her phone, a court heard.
She tried to grab back the device and storm out of the lounge, but the fighting pair had to be split up by Finn’s partner who heard the commotion from upstairs.
Police were called to the property in Kearsley near Bolton, Greater Manchester.
Finn, a £39,000-a-year recycling company manager who has never previously been in trouble with police was later charged with assault by beating which has a maximum sentence of six months in jail.
In a statement, the daughter, who suffers from anorexia, said: “I’ve seen him be violent before but this was different – he made me more scared than usual.
“I feel like I can be angry towards people because of him.”
At Wigan magistrates court, Finn admitted assault and was fined £748 and told to pay £384 in costs and a victim surcharge.
He was also issued with a 12-month restraining order banning him from contacting his now estranged daughter.
He has since moved out of the family home and now lives with his sister.
The incident occurred at 11.30pm on August 19 as the family were getting ready for bedtime.
Prosecutor Miss Hannah Nicholls said: “The defendant went into his front room where his 15-year-old daughter was on her phone and watching TV.
“He went in with his top off and his daughter started to laugh at him and mimic his voice.
“Mr Finn became upset at this and thought his daughter was Snapchatting photos of him topless.
“He responded to this by saying that he might post embarrassing pictures of his daughter on social media and took hold of her phone.
“The daughter had been diagnosed with anorexia during the lockdown and was very conscious of her body.
“She then tried to grab her phone back and walk through the door but he then threw his hand back and hit her square in the face.
“This gave her a red bruise on her face and at this point an argument erupted between the two. Finn’s partner came downstairs to intervene.
“The defendant was seen grabbing his daughter with both hands to stop her from hitting him but she then spat on him.”
The court heard Finn was taken to a police station where he was said to be “deeply remorseful.”
He said he was shocked and traumatised by the fact that he was in the station in the early hours of the morning.
In a statement read to the court, Finn apologised and said: “At my age I don’t even know how to use social media.
“I still think of my daughter as my princess and I have many happy memories of her.”
In mitigation, his lawyer Samantha Cole said Finn had been under strain due to his daughter’s anorexia diagnosis.
At the height of her illness the teenager was admitted to hospital and he and the girl’s mother went to visit her every day.
However, under the strain of his daughter’s illness and self-harming they separated.
Miss Cole said: “The incident was just a tussle between them and the assault was a quick instinctive thing.
“It started as banter with banter and went way too far from that.
“He was a man of good character who never even stepped foot inside a police station before this incident.
“He is hard working and is a manager at a recycling firm and earns around £39,000 a year.
“He has moved from the family home but still pays the mortgage. He currently lives with his sister.”
She added: “This is an extremely sad case concerning a family that, in my opinion, should not be put before the criminal justice system.
“Counselling should be offered. Things will improve over time between the parties – they always do.”
Sentencing JPs told Finn: “Any domestic violence is a serious matter but this is a sad, one off family incident.”