A mother-of-three who endured a 12-month horror relationship with a younger tradesman fears she will never recover.
The 34-year-old man, who cannot be named as that would identify the victim, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool County Court on Thursday to 18 charges.
Those charges included making a threat to kill, assaults, breach of intervention orders, attempts to pervert the course of justice, persistent breaches of intervention orders, unlawful assaults and breaching bail.
The court heard the victim had a marriage break-up before she formed a relationship with the tradesman.
"I had never dated or been on my own. I was easily charmed by empty promises and did not see the red flags," she said in a victim impact statement.
She explained she had bought a home at the urging of the man and he used her money to gamble and buy alcohol and drugs as she watched her savings dwindle.
The woman said there was damage caused to her home during parties when she was not there and she believed the man would change his behaviour.
"He would tell me he was my soulmate and we would get married. He attempted to control my thinking," she said, explaining she withdrew from her family.
The woman said the man would scratch at her personal tattoos which were relevant to her and her ex-husband while questioning her daily about who she had been seeing.
She said during her year-long relationship with the man she became proficient at hiding bruises and nightmares became part of her life.
The woman said she became a sad person, felt dirty and ashamed and worried about going to Warrnambool police, where the man had friends.
She said she had undergone counselling and increased her personal security with the fitting of heavy duty doors and an alarm system.
The woman said she feared the man would fulfil his threat to kill her when he was released from prison and she could never see herself being in a loving relationship.
The woman's daughter said in a victim impact statement she had never been so upset and angry after her mother fell in love with an evil man.
The woman's parents said their daughter's relationship caused enormous distress, pain, fear and anguish and made them feel powerless.
Crown prosecutor Fiona Martin said the accused and complainant were nine months into a relationship when it soured.
From May 2021 throughout that year there were a number of incidents, starting with pumpkin soup being spilt in a bed during an argument.
The accused engaged in high-end verbal abuse.
He spat in her face and threatened to kill her.
The defendant regularly accused the woman of cheating, threw the contents of a wine glass over her and caused the glass to smash.
In June 2021 the couple went to the Werribee mansion where there was loud abuse, accusations of cheating and the man demanded she take off rings he gave her which he threw across a room.
The night manager eventually called police who arrested the man.
The complainant also provided a number of videos taken on her mobile telephone to police of the abuse.
When an intervention order was put in place, it was regularly breached by the man living at her home, sending her text messages daily and ongoing domestic violence.
He told her he wanted to shoot her, spat on her and high-end verbal abuse included calling her the most degrading names which culminated in him striking the woman to the face.
The man grabbed a candle holder which he struck himself to the head with a number of times to explain striking the woman if he was questioned by anyone.
In one of the most frightening incidents, the man got hold of a kitchen knife which he held in the air and then turned on himself while threatening to kill himself.
The man also urged the woman to recant statements she made to police.
Before Thursday's plea hearing the man had spent 227 days in custody, more than seven months.
Barrister David Cronin said his client had written a sincere and heart-felt apology to the woman, her children and family.
He said the man had a severely disadvantaged childhood, involving his father passing away, but a range of positive references had been tendered to the court.
Mr Cronin said his client had engaged in appalling behaviour.
He submitted a further term of imprisonment followed by a community corrections order to address his client's issues would be appropriate.
Ms Martin requested a lengthy straight sentence as the man knew what he had done was wrong but he continued to commit offences.
Judge Anne Hassan described the offending as grave, oppressive and degrading involving an intimate partner, involving some violence.
The man is being assessed for his suitability to do a community corrections order and will return to court on June 29 for sentencing.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.
Emma House is a Warrnambool-based not-for-profit service and can be contacted through 1800 EMMADV (1800 366238) or visit emmahouse.org.au/
Safe Steps for women after hours service is available through 188 015 188.
Brophy Family and Youth Services can be contacted on 1300 BROPHY or 03 5561 8888.
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