Violent Sunderland man jailed for horrific campaign of domestic abuse

Connor Small.
Connor Small.

A brute chopped off his girlfriend's hair to make her "ugly" and tied rope around her neck while threatening to kill her during a horrific campaign of domestic abuse.

The "happy" 19-year-old woman thought she had found love when she started a romance with Connor Small last December and believed her life would be "idyllic".

But Newcastle Crown Court heard she was turned into a "prisoner" by the serial girlfriend beater and even spent a week injured and bedbound after jumping from a first-floor window to try to get away before being dragged back inside.

The court heard the 24-year-old had quickly moved in with the fast-food worker at a house in Sunderland at the start of their relationship, which made her life "change immediately".

Over the next two months, Small would be prone to mood swings and jealousy, smashed her phone in a rage and even forced her to quit her job.

The court heard during one shocking attack that Small dragged the woman around the house while "looking for something to kill her with".

He then picked up a piece of rope, tied one end around her neck and the other to a window handle.

When that was ineffective, he repeatedly stabbed a knife into a quilt, near her legs.

In a bid to get away, the victim jumped from a first floor bedroom window before being dragged back inside, injured and scared.

The court heard on Small's birthday at the start of this year, he accused the woman of giving him an awful time and threw a hairbrush at her.

On one occasion when she tried to escape to her mother's house, Small dragged her back to the house and punched her face.

Small, of no fixed address, admitted making a threat to kill, controlling behaviour of an abusive nature, assault, common assault and criminal damage.

He has previous convictions for violence against partners and had been given a suspended sentence for harassment of an ex just weeks before starting the new relationship.

The latest victim said in a statement: "Since December 2016 I have lived like a prisoner in my home.

"He has controlled everything in my life since that day.

"I am so relieved it is over.

"This was my first serious relationship and I cannot believe what I have been subjected to.

"Connor cut my hair off as he wanted me to look ugly. I have had a mobile hairdresser come to fit extensions."

Judge Stephen Earl said the offending was "poor and abhorrent behaviour" against a person in her own home and added: "Home is the one place you are entitled to feel safe."

He added: "There will be an immediate, long term effect on her psychologically.

"Physically, the effects of having to jump out of a window should not be ignored.

"There are a considerable number of aggravating features."

Judge Earl sentenced Small to 28 months in jail and said he must stay away from his victim for life under the terms of a restraining order.

Vic Laffey, defending, said Small had a drug problem and recognises that his behaviour was "deplorable" towards his victim.