February 2021

Jealous boyfriend strangled partner and screwed front door shut to stop her escaping

A jealous boyfriend pulled his former partner around by the hair and strangled her before barricading her inside her own flat.

Scott Bennett developed a pattern of controlling and coercive behaviour towards his former partner over a “short-lived” five-week relationship in 2020, a sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court heard on Monday.

The 26-year-old would “supervise” his former partner as she used the toilet to make sure she didn’t contact any other men and accused her of having an affair with her neighbour.

Matters came to a head after Bennett assaulted her following one accusation of cheating by grabbing her by the hair and “pulling her around” her flat. He then strangled her with one hand before screwing the front door shut to prevent her making an escape.

The court also heard Bennett broke another woman’s arm by twisting it “all the way round” three months beforehand.

Prosecutor David Pinnell said Bennett and his first victim had a 12-month relationship which ended following an incident at her address in Pontnewydd, Cwmbran , on May 7, 2020.

Mr Pinnell said the woman had just ended a phone call with her grandmother seeking reassurance and support regarding her mental health.

“When that conversation concluded this defendant became aggressive towards the complainant, shouting at her,” he said.

“It seems that that really was the point the complainant thought enough was enough and decided to end the relationship.

“His response was to grab her by her left arm and started to twist it in her words ‘all the way round’.”

Mr Pinnell said she was “screaming in pain as it was taking place” and told him to stop as she feared he would break her arm.

She estimated that the incident lasted 30 to 40 seconds and culminated in her hearing a loud “cracking noise”.

His victim was crying in pain for the next several hours, Mr Pinnell said, and at some point later called her grandmother claiming she had slipped in the bath.

Her mother came to take her to the Royal Gwent Hospital and while in the car with her admitted what had happened.

Doctors in the hospital established she had fractured two bones in her left wrist necessitating the wearing of a cast for about six weeks.

Bennett was arrested by officers from Dyfed-Powys Police in Brecon and was interviewed.

He told police he had never been abusive towards his partner but claimed she had been violent towards him during what he described as a “volatile on-and-off relationship”.

Mr Pinnell said the second incident occurred during Bennett’s “short-lived” relationship with another woman over a period of about five weeks between August 28 and September 25, 2020.

The court heard Bennett, who was on tagged curfew in relation to the first victim’s allegations, moved in with the woman and had his supervised address details changed to her address.

“He had displayed behaviour from the end of August and throughout September which she considered were displays of paranoia on his part,” she said.

Mr Pinnell said Bennett would “object to her going to the bathroom” in case she was “preparing herself to go out with other males”.

Bennett also accused her of having an affair with a neighbour, became jealous if she had contact with or looked at another male, and wanted her to get rid of her mobile phone.

“He would even supervise her when she went to the toilet to make sure she was not making contact with other male persons, seeming to suggest she would do so from the window of the bathroom if the door was closed,” he said.

Bennett was also violent towards the woman, throwing a cannabis grinder at her on one occasion.

“He would, for example, pick her up and throw her to the floor, pull her by the hair, and often throw other items at her,” Mr Pinnell said.

The prosecutor said matters came to a head on September 24 when he woke her up and accused her of having an affair before assaulting her “several times” by grabbing her by the hair and “pulling her around”.

“He pushed her onto the sofa and tried to bite and kick her and grabbed her to the waist resulting in bruising to her body,” he said.

Later on she discovered Bennett had “screwed the front door shut” to prevent her from leaving and raising the alarm.

After he did that he slit his wrist with a piece of glass and refused medical attention which she was “desperate” for him to obtain. He also strangled her with his left hand against her throat.

“She thought he had the capability and intention to cause her real harm or even worse,” Mr Pinnell said.

Bennett, of Beacons View, Talgarth, Powys, pleaded guilty to one count of malicious wounding and another of coercive and controlling behaviour in respect of the incidents.

Judge David Wynn Morgan said: “I’m relieved to hear that you have acknowledged that you have a significant problem which obviously affects yourself but plainly affects what happens when you form a relationship with a female in the future.”

Bennett was sentenced to 12 months in prison for the malicious wounding offence and four months for the offence of coercive and controlling behaviour. The sentences are to run consecutively for a total of 16 months in prison.

He was also made the subject of a restraining order in respect of each complainant which are to run for five years. Bennett must also pay a victim surcharge of £156.