An abusive ex ‘never learned the playground rule’ that you never hit a woman, a judge said.

Ray Rigby, 35, shoved his then partner hard after she tried to punch his brother on June 7 last year.

She fell to the pavement and injured her head, Oxford Crown Court heard.

Banbury man Rigby had faced a charge of controlling and coercive behaviour, relating to his alleged physical abuse of her over a year from mid-2019.

However, on the day his trial was due to begin late last year, he instead pleaded guilty to a separate charge of causing actual bodily harm.

Sentencing him for that assault on Monday morning, Recorder John Bate-Williams said of the attack: “That was a disgusting thing to do, especially to a woman and especially to a woman who you had previously claimed to love.

“You clearly, in my judgement, never learned the playground rule which all boys are taught; you never, ever hit a woman.”

Rigby began a relationship with his victim in October 2018. After several months the relationship deteriorated and was punctuated by what the judge called ‘nasty incidents’ – fuelled by alcohol and perpetrated by both, the court heard.

On June 7, Rigby threw a television remote at his then partner in the home he shared with her, hitting her in the head.

She asked him to leave. He went, but returned later that afternoon to collect some of his belongings. They both started drinking heavily again.

The defendant’s brother got him out the house but she followed the men down Hastings Road, Banbury.

The woman punched the brother. Rigby’s reply was to push her hard to the floor, knocking her out briefly. She suffered bruises and scrapes.

In a victim personal statement, she said her life had been ‘destroyed’ and she had suffered flashbacks.

Speaking to the probation service, Rigby described his relationship with the victim as ‘toxic’. Both had been drinking heavily.

The court heard he had struggled with alcohol abuse, having been introduced to drugs and drink in his teens by his father. He accepted he needed further help from the authorities.

Rigby, of Prescott Avenue, Banbury, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm. He had seven previous convictions including most recently for harassing the same victim.

He was given 10 months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months. Under the terms of the order he must complete the building better relationships domestic violence course and 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days. He was ordered to pay £1,500 in costs.

A restraining order bans him from contacting his victim for life. As he walked from the courtroom, Rigby said: “You will never see me again, your honour.”

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