Man who left girlfriend scarred for life after two years of abuse escapes prison sentence
A woman says she is devastated the man who repeatedly violently attacked her during a campaign of abuse that lasted more than two years has avoided a jail sentence.
Justine Wood, 40, of Colne in Lancashire, was left scarred for life after her ex-partner broke her nose, fractured her jaw and bit her fingers so badly she has lost the feeling in them in a series of attacks.
But despite being found guilty of assault by beating and assault occasioning actual bodily harm in June 2017, Damian Bridge, 40, was handed just an 18-month suspended sentence and an 18-month restraining order.
Justine, said: I am a survivor, but justice has not been served.
Ive been left with mental and physical scars, he should be locked away.
She and Bridge became a couple in August 2012, after knowing each other for 26 years.
The pair quickly moved in together but just over a year later, Bridge became controlling, telling Justine she couldnt see her friends.
In October 2014, he first became violent.
He punched me in the face so hard that I heard my nose crack, Justine said.
Blood gushed everywhere so I called an ambulance.
At Royal Blackburn Hospital, doctors gave Justine ten stitches to mend her broken nose. She told them she had fallen over.
At home, Damian begged for forgiveness so I stayed with him, she said.
But in June 2015, he attacked once more after Justine asked him to turn the television down, punching her in the head causing her to fall backwards and split her head open.
Police arrested Bridge as paramedics took Justine to Burnley General Hospital where doctors glued an inch-long gash on her head.
He was charged with assault, before being released on bail.
He bombarded me with calls telling me he loved me so I agreed to meet him and decided to give the relationship another go. I was still manipulated by him, Justine said.
Yet again, the abuse continued and in June 2016, Bridge fractured bones in Justines jaw.
It was the worst pain Ive ever felt, she said. I couldnt eat.
Bridge was convicted of assault at Blackburn Magistrates Court a month later, where he was given a 12-month community order.
Justine thought she had escaped his clutches – but got a phone call a short time later asking her to take Bridge home from hospital, where he had just had a hernia operation.
She says she agreed to let him live with her until he was better as she felt sorry for him but when she told Bridge she did not want to be with him, he bit her fingers so badly she lost the feeling in two of them.
This was the final straw. I wanted him out of my life for good, Justine said.
In June 2017, Damian Bridge, 41, of Allendale Street, Colne, pleaded guilty to assault by beating and assault occasioning actual bodily harm at Burnley Crown Court.
But he was only given an 18-month suspended sentence and an 18-month restraining order against Justine.
He was also handed a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement and ordered to pay £150 costs.
Justine said: I was devastated that he is a free man after everything hes put me through.
I hope that my story encourages other women to recognise the signs of an abusive relationship, to leave and to speak out.
Hopefully others will get justice in the way that I never did.