A pregnant woman accused her then partner of ‘trying to claw her face off’ during an onslaught that lasted an estimated two hours.

Daniel Herring’s then girlfriend was struck with a pillow, dragged through her Banbury flat then, later, the 22-year-old ‘pushed his fingers down into her face’ in the attack on April 18 this year.

The stop-start assault took place over two hours, the victim estimated, and began shortly after she woke, when she failed to reciprocate her partner’s attempt to cuddle her. It followed an argument the night before during which Herring, 22, was verbally abusive.

The victim, who became pregnant around a month after her relationship with Herring began late last year, was left with carpet burns to her back from where she had been dragged through the house, Oxford Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Nigel Ogborne said Herring saw the red burn mark on the woman’s back. “Look what you made me do,” he was reported saying. “You make me so angry. You don’t know how to control my anger.”

Herring then tried to apologise for his actions and said he wanted to ‘talk’ to ‘sort things out’.

His victim said no and added that she ‘did not deserve to be treated like that’. In reply, the defendant urged his then partner: “Don’t make me a single dad. You know I don’t want to be a single dad.”

He pushed her onto the bed and, she alleged, put his hand on her neck then ‘forced his palm and fingers down into her face’.

The victim said of the assault: “[It was] as if he was trying to claw my face off.”

Herring, formerly of South Street, Banbury, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing his former partner actual bodily harm, although denied the allegation that he had strangled her. He had previously served custodial sentences for possession of a weapon and burglary.

Mitigating, Peter du Feu said his client understood the ‘seriousness’ of the charge and had accepted ‘attacking and hurting’ the woman he loved.

Having been a heavy cannabis user he gave up the drug two days before the assault, the court heard. Herring was also said to have been ‘stressed’, working long hours and studying plumbing in the evenings to learn a trade and build a business that he hoped to one day hand on to his – still unborn – son.

Judge Pringle sentenced Herring to 15 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, noting he had shown ‘genuine contrition’ and had spent two-and-a-half months in prison on remand.

Herring must complete a four-month drug rehab programme, up to 16 sessions with the probation service and a domestic violence course. A restraining order bans him from contacting his victim indefinitely.

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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

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