Natalie Cassidy fiance sentenced

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The Independent Online

The fiance of former EastEnders star Natalie Cassidy was today ordered to do 120 hours unpaid work for assaulting her.

Adam Cottrell, 31, who had admitted assaulting Cassidy, was also made subject to a restraining order banning him from contacting the actress.

He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing at East Hertfordshire Magistrates' Court in Hertford to two counts of assault and one of criminal damage.

Deputy District Judge Anita Borwick, at the same court, placed Cottrell on a 12 months community order, with 12 months supervision.

She said that the restraining order was both "proportionate and necessary" given that the three instances were within weeks of each other.

She told him to pay compensation for damage he had caused in the sum of £350, and also £100 compensation to Cassidy, as well as costs of £85.

"You pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, and I give you credit for that.

"However, this was in a domestic violence setting, and that is an aggravating feature.

"Your behaviour towards Miss Cassidy was both humiliating and disturbing, and these incidents were fuelled by alcohol.

"You showed remorse, and accepted responsibility.

"My concern is that there may be a pattern of behaviour emerging. I feel you would benefit by the intervention of the probation service."

Elaine McMillan, prosecuting, told the court at a hearing last month that Cottrell twice attacked Cassidy when they were at home.

The first occasion was on April 13 when he put make-up on her and hit her with a slipper.

Mrs McMillan said: "The defendant lost his temper and he assaulted her by smearing her with mascara and striking her with a slipper on the upper leg."

During the second incident, which took place on May 20, he "grabbed her by the arms and he ripped her top", she said.

Cottrell went on to damage their home in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, after Cassidy left to stay with her family.

The court heard that he smashed a £200 microwave, wine glasses worth £100 and a £50 candelabra.

Cottrell admitted two counts of assault by beating and one offence of criminal damage. A second count of criminal damage was withdrawn.

Cassidy, who was due to marry Cottrell later this year, played Sonia Jackson in the BBC1 soap EastEnders.

After quitting the series in 2007, she briefly rejoined in February 2010 before making a solitary appearance earlier this year.

As well as starring in reality show Natalie Cassidy: Becoming Mum, on Channel 4, the 28-year-old has released a top-selling fitness DVD.

Cottrell, who told the court he was of no permanent address, left the court building without commenting to waiting reporters.

Vincent Mitchell, defending, said Cottrell was fully remorseful and accepted that he had done wrong.

Cottrell felt that the incidents came from the use of alcohol, but did not feel that he has a problem with it.