A controlling boyfriend has been jailed after holding a knife to his partner’s face and telling her he “owned” her.
Gerard Graham subjected the woman to a horrific catalogue of abuse over the course of a four-month relationship and frequently flew into rages.
The 29-year-old, who also choked her on one occasion, and made her delete social media accounts from her phone, has now been jailed over his frightening behaviour.
The sheriff dealing with the case at Aberdeen Sheriff Court described it as “classic domestic abuse” and said there was no other option other than a custodial sentence as he jailed Graham for 30 months.
Fiscal depute Katy Begg told: “The accused and the complainer met each other through Facebook and began a relationship in November 2019.
“At no point during the relationship did the accused and complainer live together, but the accused did frequently stay over at the complainer’s address.
“During the course of the relationship there were several occasions on which the accused would message the complainer or leave voicemails and if she failed to reply to them he was in the habit of attending at her home address uninvited.
“Having attended there he’d repeatedly bang and kick on the door and shout and demand entry until the complainer eventually allowed him in.
“The complainer’s position is she would let him in because she was worried about the disturbance the accused was causing. She was worried this would cause issues between her and her neighbours.
“On being allowed entry the accused would generally calm down but if he did not get his way he would begin to shout and swear.
“On more than one occasion he threw household items including an ashtray and glasses or cans of juice. On another occasion he pulled the curtains from the window, causing damage to the curtain pole.
“On January 23 the accused stayed at the complainer’s address and the following morning about 10.30am his phone rang and the complainer saw it was a female calling.
“The complainer questioned the accused about the phone call and that resulted in the accused losing his temper.
“He began to throw items around her bedroom and he seized her by the neck with both hands. He compressed her neck for what she estimated as being between five and 10 seconds, during which time her breathing was restricted.
“She managed to push him away.”
Ms Begg said the couple had a further argument about another female on February 8.
She said: “During the course of that argument the accused pulled a Stanley knife from the top of an electricity box and held the knife up to the face of the complainer and said ‘I could cut you from ear to ear and it wouldn’t even faze me’.
“He told the complainer she was not going anywhere or answering her phone until he had calmed down.”
Ms Begg said the woman described Graham as being “very controlling towards her”.
She said: “She told the police that the accused told her when they first began the relationship that he was controlling, but she had no idea to what extent he meant that.
“The accused made the complainer delete Snapchat, Facebook and Facebook Messenger on her phone and told her that he owns her and that if she had a relationship with anybody else he would destroy that person.
“The complainer describes feeling bad about seeing her friends and as a result saw much less of them while she was in a relationship with him.”
Ms Begg told the court Graham had said his behaviour was “the complainer’s fault for winding him up”.
The woman ended the relationship in February and contacted the police.
Graham, a prisoner of HMP Grampian, pled guilty to an offence under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act of engaging in a course of behaviour which was abusive of his partner.
The offence happened at an address in Aberdeen.
Defence agent David Sutherland said: “He is very sorry and ashamed of his behaviour and apologises unreservedly.”
He added his client planned to return to Ireland on being released.
Sheriff William Summers described Graham’s behaviour as “classic domestic abuse”, adding: “It’s quite clear that there’s no alternative available to the court other than the imposition of a custodial sentence.”
He jailed Graham for 30 months and also imposed a five-year non-harrassment order.
Aileen Forbes, manager at Grampian Women’s Aid, said: “We are very pleased to see that the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act is being embraced to protect women from coercive controlling behaviour as can be seen in this case.
“The act covers the full breadth of violent, threatening, intimidating and other controlling behaviour which can destroy a victim’s autonomy and further recognises the adverse impact domestic abuse can have on children.
“Recognising, within law, the full range of behaviours used by perpetrators to control, coerce, and instill fear in their victims, has been the single most significant step in our efforts to tackle domestic abuse in Scotland.
“At Grampian Women’s Aid we have seen a surge in referrals and the protections offered by the law are now more urgent and important than ever with households across the UK told to stay at home to help suppress the spread of Covid-19.
“Women may struggle to keep themselves and their children safe while cut off from usual sources of help.
“If you are experiencing domestic abuse, please call us on 01224 593381 or email us at email@example.com“