A man punched the partner who had accidentally broken his glasses in the eye – telling her: “Now you know what it’s like not to be able to see.”

Joseph Holden, 28, also bragged to the woman: “I beat up big men. You are nothing.”

Sending the Oxford man to prison for three years and one month on Friday, Judge Michael Gledhill QC said: “You can be an extremely unpleasant man. You seem to regard violence as part of your life.”

Oxford Crown Court heard Holden had been in a relationship with his victim for only a short time when he launched the first of his two attacks on her.

The relationship was punctuated by bullying abuse, with his constant claims she was ‘fat’ and a ‘slag’ leading to her changing her eating habits. He isolated her from family and friends and would demand to check her phone.

At around 6am on January 30 this year, while still out of prison on licence for earlier dishonesty offences, he returned – drunk – to his then girlfriend’s home off Cowley Road, east Oxford.

He was banging on the doors. That led to an argument between the couple, during which Holden punched her in the face, threw her to the ground then kicked her in the chest.

The man bragged: “I hit men. Look what I can do to you. You’re nothing.”

His victim suffered bruising to the ribs and was bleeding heavily from a cut. However, checks at the hospital showed she suffered no broken bones or more serious wounds.

The couple were later reconciled. But on February 24 she was attacked again by Holden.

The assault took place in her home. He grabbed her and pushed her to the floor. Dragging up an old grievance, where she had accidentally trodden on his glasses at an early point in their relationship, he rained punches at her eye and told her: “Now you know what it’s like not to be able to see.”

Echoing his boast in January, Holden also told her: “I beat up big men. You are nothing.”

His victim ran from the room and sought refuge in her bedroom, where she planned to call 999. Her boyfriend followed her, picked up a knife that she kept in the room for protection and pointed it towards her stomach after warning her not to go to the police.

Eventually he left the house and she was able to call 999 for help.

It was not until the following month that Holden was arrested. Having been pulled-over by police during a routine traffic stop, he attempted to kick one of the constables.

Holden, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm, coercive behaviour and assaulting an emergency worker.

Mitigating, Richard Davies said his client suffered from a personality disorder, which made him ‘quarrelsome and irritable’ in certain situations.

Referencing the diagnosis, Judge Gledhill told Holden: “You are perfectly capable of living an honest and unviolent existence. Unfortunately, you choose to do neither.”

He imposed a restraining order banning Holden from contacting his victim for seven years.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.  

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward