Violent thug who "swallowed razor-blades" imprisoned terrified girlfriend in own flat and repeatedly assaulted her

A violent thug subjected his girlfriend to a “terrifying” ordeal when he imprisoned her in her own home and repeatedly assaulted her, Sheffield Crown Court has heard.

Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 3:00 pm

Cole O'Brien let himself into the woman's bedsit and pulled her inside by her hair when she returned home, the day after he was released from prison, on April 6, last year.

He pinned her against the wall by her throat, and when she tried to escape he punched the back of her head and ear, said prosecutor Soheil Khan.

O'Brien produced a knife with a 15 cms blade and took heroin during the two-hour ordeal, the court heard on Tuesday.

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He also obstructed her breathing by pinching her nose and clamping his hand over her mouth, before the woman managed to flee and contact police at a nearby taxi rank.

When police arrested him at his home on May 2, he claimed to have "swallowed razor-blades and a cocktail of drugs." He was taken to hospital, where he became aggressive and spat on an officer.

O'Brien was also "under the influence of Class A drugs" when he barged into another woman's home, at 7.20am, on November 10, wearing a blonde wig, and demanding £100.

Her young daughters were "petrified," said Mr Singh, when he placed a Stanley knife on the work surface while holding a crack pipe.

"He ran into the living room, talking of cutting off someone's head," Mr Singh said. "He told one of the daughters he would kill her father and grandfather."

O'Brien poured milk and sugar over the woman's head before he left, and was later arrested.

The court heard he has 28 previous convictions, for 27 offences, and was jailed in 2010 and 2013 for violence. He was on a suspended 16 week prison sentence, imposed in May last year, for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Frances Pencheon, mitigating, said O'Brien had been in a four-month relationship with the woman and arranged to meet her after his release, but an argument broke out when a man answered her phone.

He was “in the grip of Class A drug use” when he visited the second woman and wore the wig “as a joke,” she said, but the situation escalated.

Ms Pencheon said his threats were aimed at the woman’s boyfriend, with whom he had argued over money and drugs, but he wasn't present at the time.

She said O’Brien has already served the equivalent of a 21-month sentence since his arrest last year, and was now on a methadone programme.

O'Brien, 28, of Mill Hill, Goole, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, assault on an emergency worker, common assault, and making threats to kill, on September 14.

Judge Michael Slater said the bruising O'Brien's victim sustained was some of the worst he had ever seen.

"Her arms and legs are absolutely covered with bruises of a very distressing nature," he said, adding O’Brien subjected the second woman to "gratuitous degradation."

He imposed restraining orders for an indefinite period, banning him from contacting his former girlfriend or the second woman.

O’Brien was jailed for four years.

Read the latest cases from Sheffield Crown Court here.

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