'Terrifying picture of domestic abuse' outlined as Corby man handed extended prison term
'Your conduct was designed to maximise fear and distress'
A 'dangerous' Corby man who put his knee on his girlfriend's neck until she almost blacked-out has been given an extended jail term.
Jerome Cole appeared before Northampton Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday, November 30) after admitting months of controlling and violent behaviour toward his former partner, who had previously been blinded in one eye during a pub attack in Corby.
The 25-year-old of Stephenson Way appeared before the court via videolink from HMP Peterborough to admit three charges of threatening to kill his victim, one of coercive control and one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. A charge of possession of cannabis was left to lie on file.
The first threat to kill came in December 2020 when Cole became angry with his former partner while they were in her Corby home. She had previously experienced his angry outbursts during their relationship.
Judge Lucking said: "You went into the kitchen and picked up a knife and held it towards her.
"She thought you were going to stab her.
"You told her you were going to kill her if she didn't talk to you. She was scared out of her wits. She was terrified on each of these occasions."
Then on New Year's Day this year, as the victim was about to go to work, Cole pulled her into the bedroom and told her that if she tried to leave or call anyone he would kill her and her little brother.
Judge Lucking added: "You told her you'd hidden two knives around the bedroom and you were going to kill her."
Then in February, after returning home at 11.30pm, Cole picked up his girlfriend and threw her to the floor, grabbed a knife from the dining room table and told her he was going to kill her and her family while holding her with both hands. He told her they were 'both going upstairs'.
Judge Lucking said: "It's difficult to imagine a more terrifying domestic assault.
"You then pushed her to the ground in the bedroom, kicked her on the floor in the back and legs and punched her to the kidneys.
"You grabbed her throat and put your knee to her throat and neck area and sat on her."
The victim managed to get Cole off her by going limp. She said she had felt pressure building in her head as the attack was taking place.
"She didn't lose consciousness," said Judge Lucking, "but she was very close to blacking out.
"She was gasping for breath.
"She was stunned and couldn't recall what had happened for several minutes afterwards. You then forced her to drink alcohol."
The incident was all the more alarming because the victim had previously suffered a life-changing injury when she had been attacked in a nightclub, leaving her with a detached retina.
"You knew about that incident and the harm it had caused," said Judge Lucking. "It's a particularly terrifying picture of domestic abuse."
Between September 2020 and Febuary 2021, Cole had also subjected his victim to a campaign of coercive control. She was made to tell him everywhere she was going and decided when she was allowed to see her friends. Despite the previous injury to her retina, he had poked her in the eye, causing a black eye.
He had damaged her property, thrown it into the street, and threatened to kill her cats.
Detailing Cole's 'unattractive history' of domestic abuse, Judge Lucking said he had a conviction in 2015 for battery when he was still a youth and was given a community order.
He then failed to comply with the requirements of that community order three times in 2016. In 2017 he was jailed for criminal damage and was then convicted of coercive control which involved a knife and a threat to a child later that year.
In September of that year he breached a non-molestation order.
Sentencing Cole, Judge Lucking said: "This was a campaign of violence and there was very serious distress caused to the victim. It took place in a domestic setting and the victim was already vulnerable because of her sight. You made threats to her family and pets.
"Your conduct was designed to maximise fear and distress."
Taking into account credit for his guilty plea, Cole was sentenced to four years in prison for each of the threats to kill, 37 months for the assault and 38 months for the coercive control charge. The sentences will all run concurrently so Cole's total sentence is four years.
However, Judge Lucking said she was satisfied that Cole met the criteria for being a dangerous criminal. She said: "I'm certain that you're someone who poses a significant risk of causing serious harm to members of the public.
"The pre-sentence report has assessed your risk and your history which indicates your victim empathy is limited. You minimise the extent of your behaviour.
"You're a dangerous offender."
She ordered him to serve an extended sentence, which are reserved for the most dangerous criminals, of eight years. This means that a parole board will decide when he is safe to be released. He will have to serve at least two thirds of the four-year custodial element and will then be released on licence for the remainder of the eight years.
He was also given a ten-year restraining order banning him from contacting his victim and from visiting the street she lives in.
Defence advocate Will Heyward said his client wanted to apologise to his victim for his behaviour.