An obsessively controlling boyfriend subjected a woman to a reign of terror in the flat they shared together during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that Gary Stewart, 24, began a relationship with the victim and moved into her flat in Stanley Road, Bootle, shortly before the lockdown was imposed in March.
The court heard that Stewart was the woman's first boyfriend and she initially described their relationship as "amazing."
But things soon began to turn sour when Stewart's jealousy, and controlling and coercive behaviour began to manifest itself.
Paul Blasbery, prosecuting, said that Stewart would close the curtains in the flat so she couldn't look outside.
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He would also follow her into the bathroom, and demand she keep her eyes fixed to the floor when they went outside so she could not look towards other men or engage with them.
On one occasion, he refused to allow her to take their shopping to the supermarket till because they were all staffed by men.
Mr Blasbery said: "The behaviour became more extreme, with Stewart denying her use of the toilet and preventing her from showering for two weeks.
"He became fixated on the idea that she was trying to attract the attention of a male neighbour who lived upstairs.
"He would also hit her on the head to wake her up if she was drifting off to sleep. If he couldn't sleep, neither could she.
"He also wouldn't let her eat if he was not eating, and would make her wait until he was hungry."
The court heard that Stewart's abuse further worsened until he assaulted his victim by giving her a black eye just for "looking out of the window".
The assaults later culminated in his kicking her while she was lying on the bathroom floor with stomach pains. He also dragged her round the bathroom, causing bruising.
The victim called for an ambulance and when it arrived, the paramedic put his hand on her back while helping her into it.
Incredibly, this caused Stewart to later fire off a volley of threatening and abusive text messages to her, saying he "would stab up" both her and the paramedic.
In her victim impact statement, which was read out in court, the woman said the treatment meted out to her by Stewart had shattered her confidence and caused her to become withdrawn.
She added: "He was crushing me with his obsessive behaviour."
She said she now hated Stewart for what he had done and never wanted to see him again.
Domestic violence or abuse can happen to anyone.
NHS advice says if you are at risk of domestic abuse or violence you can:
- Talk to your doctor, health visitor or midwife
- Women can call 0808 2000 247, the free 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge
- Men can call the Men's Advice Line free on 0808 801 0327 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or ManKind on 01823 334 244
- In an emergency, call 999
The Survivor's Handbook from Women's Aid is free and gives information on issues such as housing, money, helping children and legal rights.
Men can email email@example.com, which can refer you to places that can help, such as health services and voluntary organisations.
For forced marriage and "honour" crimes, contact Karma Nirvana (0800 5999 247) or The Forced Marriage Unit (020 7008 0151).
Galop provides support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experiencing domestic violence.
Anyone who needs confidential help with their own abusive behaviour can contact Respect on their free helpline on 0808 802 4040.
Cheryl Mottram, defending, said Stewart was "under no illusion" these were serious offences.
She said the dad-of-one suffered from ADHD and autism, and had not been receiving his usual medication during the three months he had been living with the victim.
"It is those who are closest to him who receive the brunt of his emotional outbursts," added Ms Mottram.
Stewart, of no fixed abode, had pleaded guilty to five charges comprising controlling and coercive behaviour, assault by beating, and sending threatening messages.
Judge David Aubrey, QC, told Stewart: "These offences are so serious that appropriate punishment can only be achieved by an immediate custodial sentence.
"I am not satisfied that your mental condition had a significant bearing, nor does it substantially reduce your culpability for how you behaved over a long period of time.
"You are an obsessive and jealous young man. The victim displayed great courage and fortitude in outlining the behaviour that you perpetrated on her. That you were her first boyfriend makes it even more poignant."
Judge Aubrey jailed Stewart for a total of 27 months for the offences, with the second half of the sentence to be served on licence.