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Chronicle Live
David Huntley

Chester-le-Street thug strangled partner and hit her head off cupboard before 'biting her face'

A County Durham domestic abuser strangled his partner and hit her head off a cupboard before "biting her face".

Michael Burnip spat in his then-partner's face, strangled her and beat her, with one attack even taking place in front of onlookers in September last year. The 22-year-old left the woman with two black eyes following attacks over a period of two days.

Burnip, of Auckland, Chester-le-Street, appeared at Durham Crown Court on Wednesday to be sentenced for two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, assault by beating, and intentional strangulation. He had pleaded guilty to the offences.

Read more: Mum left feeling 'violated' after catching workman raking through her underwear drawer

The court was told on September 17 Burnip was at the woman's home when an argument broke out. Ian West, prosecuting, said: "The defendant took her head and banged it off a kitchen cupboard several times and bit her face and hand, breaking the skin and causing bruises to her chin and hand."

Mr West said the next day, the pair were in Burnip's van when another argument unfolded. He said: "The defendant grabbed her by her hair whilst driving and spat in her face and punched her in the arm. He told her to clear up the spit. When they stopped at a DIY shop, the complainant tried to run away but the defendant chased her and caught her near to the shop and slapped her.

"There were people around but nobody came to her aid. He was trying to get her in the van and succeeded. She then tried to get out of the van while it was still moving. When they got home, the defendant grabbed her around the throat and dragged her to the floor."

The court was told that Burnip began hitting her and choked her "three times" until she was unable to breathe. She tried to get out of the house but he locked the door as her head was gushing with blood. She eventually managed to escape the ordeal and called the police and an ambulance.

Helen Towers, defending, said Burnip pleaded guilty on the basis that he hit the woman's head on the cupboard once and "cut her chin on his tooth, rather than deliberately biting her". She said Burnip has "issues with managing his emotions" but had a long-term relationship in the past where no domestic violence call outs were reported.

She added: "He hopes he can learn to conduct himself in relationships as he has done previously" and that that Burnip "accepts entirely the behaviour he undertook".

Sentencing Burnip, Judge Jo Kidd said he carried out "repeated, significant serious attacks" on the woman and "subjected her to a terrible series of assaults" and that he "behaved like a monster".

Burnip was jailed for three years and a 10 year restraining order was imposed.

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