She was speaking at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, as Paul Rainey (26), of Moat Road in Ballymena, was given a four months jail sentence.
He was sentenced in connection with charges which included assault; possessing a Stanley Knife with intent to commit assault; harassment; threatening to damage the woman’s car windows and a charge of attempting to damage the car.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said anyone hearing the woman’s testimony could ‘not be but moved’.
She was in court for the sentencing and when it was heard the judge had not received her Victim Impact Statement she outlined the contents herself from her mobile phone.
The defendant appeared at court via a video link from his solicitor’s office. Rainey had previously been convicted after a contest.
A prosecutor told the latest hearing the woman began dating the defendant in the summer of 2020 and when she got a job at a shop in Ballymena, Rainey’s “behaviour and attitude changed towards here and he became very controlling and very obsessive in terms of her whereabouts and who she was speaking to”.
In November last year Rainey was particularly ‘obsessed’ about the man who had interviewed the woman for the job. She met Rainey that night at a car park and she was in her car and the defendant in his. The prosecutor said the defendant became aggressive.
The woman felt scared and she walked off but Rainey followed her and pushed her three times in the back and the defendant shouted:”You will have no f**king windows left in your car by the time you get back.”
Rainey then struck the car. She phoned others to come and pick her up.
The woman was told the defendant ‘regretted’ what he had done and she agreed to give the relationship ‘another go’ and she thought he ‘would change’.
On a later occasion Rainey ‘stormed in’ clutching a Stanley Knife and was shouting: “Where the f**k is he?”
The woman said she had no idea who the defendant thought was in the house and she was ‘terrified’.
Around 6.45am the next day, during an argument about taking Christmas presents from a car, Rainey pushed her and she pushed him back saying: “Don’t ever push me again.”
Rainey, then struck her in the face and when she fell to the floor she was kicked once in the stomach by the defendant who was wearing work boots.
She felt her face stinging and her head went light and, the court heard, Rainey looked at her and said: “Oh s**t, what have I done?”
The woman ended the relationship and Rainey later told her to ‘take him back’ and said words to the effect that if he could not have her, no-one could. The woman told the court she had suffered a black eye and badly swollen cheekbone as well as bruising to her thigh, stomach pains, constant headaches and had lost weight, going from a size 8 to a size 4 as stress led to an eating disorder.
She said she ended up reducing the number of hours she worked ‘due to self-confidence and fear’, leading to her having to borrow money from her family which had never happened before ‘as I am a hard worker and I like to make my own money’. She said she had to give up a part-time job in a beauty”salon as she had ‘no confidence’ and was scared about being alone in premises before going ‘full-time in my other job’.
The woman said: “Due to everything Paul has put me through, this last year has been a pure torture.”
She said her mental state has not been in a good place and she had issues with anxiety and sleeping.
The woman said she was “mentally scarred by Paul’s actions towards her, “I never thought anyone could be as bad.”
She said she would not leave the house alone for seven months and ‘had to be escorted everywhere’ by her dad.
The court heard she suffered alopecia and had “suicidal thoughts as I thought if I wasn’t here this nightmare would end for me and my family”.
She added: “It was like living in a horror film. You read about these kind of things but never imagine you will ever live that life”.
The woman said Rainey had put her through ‘torture’ and added: “I am just worried about my safety as I know he is not done with me just yet. I just want my life back and some freedom.”
A defence barrister said Rainey, who had no previous record, had been ‘overborne by jealousy’ and ‘completely lost control of himself’.
He said the couple had been together a lot during the Covid lockdown and the defendant had been “fixating” on the relationship and allowed his behaviour to ‘spiral out of control’.
The lawyer said there had been no reoffending.
Handing down a prison sentence, Judge Broderick said: “This is a serious case of domestic violence. The court could not be but moved by the testimony, not just today in her Victim Impact Statement but also she had to go through the trauma of giving evidence in open court.”
He said it was quite clear she had suffered not just physically but emotionally.
The judge added: “This is a classic example of how the court must deal with, robustly, those who commit acts of domestic violence because the effects of it, while obviously initially painful in terms of the physical assault, it is quite clear the emotional trauma is much more longer lasting.”
He handed down a four months prison term and also issued a two year Restraining Order preventing Rainey from contacting, harassing or intimidating his former girlfriend and he is banned from the area where she lives.
The defendant had bail in the sum of £500 fixed for appeal.