- Damian Brenninkmeyer, 43, first beat his wife on their honeymoon
- He was hauled before a court for beating her in front of their children
- The father is the former head of the Old Master’s department at Christie’s
- His wife Fiona, 40, has the restraining order changed so the couple can attend marriage counselling
A former Christie’s art expert who attacked his wife after she reported him for domestic violence was today given the chance to save his marriage. Damian Brenninkmeyer first started beating his wife of ten years, Fiona, when the couple were on their honeymoon and she was eight months pregnant with their first child.
The 43-year-old father-of-two was hauled before a court after lashing out at his partner in front of his two children to days after being given a police caution.
He was given a four-month prison term suspended for 18 months by District Judge Andrew Sweet, and ordered to attend a domestic abuse programme. Brenninkmeyer was also banned from the family home in Fulham, west London, and is now living Kingston-upon-Thames with his father. But his wife Fiona, 40, today successfully applied to Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court to vary the restraining order to allow the couple to start marriage counselling sessions before the restrictions cease next month.
Brenninkmeyer hit his wife across the face as a ‘punishment’ as she drove them through west London to her mother’s Buckinghamshire home last July. Just two days before the attack he had returned home in a violent temper and doused his wife with water, causing her to flee and hide from him in the bedroom, the court heard.
The order today gives the 42-year-old former head of the Old Masters department at Christie’s auction house the chance to save his marriage.
Stephanie Roe, representing Mrs Brenninkmeyer, said the court was being asked to vary the restraining order so the couple could attend counselling. ‘The variation is just to amend that term [of the order], the first term, to allow counselling with a third party,’ she told the court. ‘That is purely the variation.’ The restraining order expires on February 28 and no application was made to extend it. ‘They want to start marriage counselling before then’, Miss Roe added.
Prosecutor Helen Clutton said: ‘Mr Brenninkmeyer was charged with common assault. ‘On August 29 (last year) Mr Brenninkmeyer was sentenced in this court and part of that sentence was the restraining order. ‘Mr Brenninkmeyer was of previous good character and this is his only conviction. ‘There was a caution, that is where Mr Brenninkmeyer admitted he had thrown water over Mrs Brenninkmeyer a few days before this offence took place and that he also punched her.’ The prosecutor said Mrs Brenninkmeyer remained at a ‘standard’ level of risk in the eyes of the police.
Chair of the bench, Spyros Elia said, ‘We are satisfied that you are abiding by all the conditions of your restraining order to date and there seems to be a genuine wish by both you and your wife to a least have a go at salvaging your marriage. ‘We wish you all the best and hopefully this will be the last time, Mr Brenninkmeyer.’
Brenninkmeyer is the London director of Vienna auction house Dorotheum.
He has worked at Christies in New York and top London auction house Bonhams & Butterfields. At a previous hearing, the prosecutor said Mr Brenninkmeyer has a long history of domestic violence towards his wife.
‘Mrs Brenninkmeyer states that she had been a victim of domestic violence since she was pregnant with their first child’, she said. ‘When she was eight months pregnant on their honeymoon Mr Brenninkmeyer held his hand on her mouth and pushed her onto the bed on her back and hit her.’
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