A controlling boyfriend who could have killed himself and his terrified partner when he applied the handbrake to her car on a motorway has been jailed.
Terry O’Shaughnassy subjected victim Leah Hodge to months of physical and mental abuse before carrying out the 70mph stunt.
He slammed the handbrake on as they motored along, causing her car to suddenly swerve out of control across the motorway.
Luckily it avoided being struck by another car and the couple escaped unharmed, before O’Shaughnassy took out his anger on Ms Hodge by assaulting her.
A court heard that it was just one of several times the 34-year-old physically abused the victim during their relationship.
O’Shaughassy, from Ferndown, Dorset, relocated to Manchester after meeting Ms Hodge last year.
David Jenkins, prosecuting, said O’Shaughnassy punched Ms Hodge in the face while holding his phone in his hand, pushed her over so she hit her head on a radiator, and bent her fingers, which led to them swell and bruise.
She required hospital treatment on more than one occasion, but O’Shaughnassy would go with her and force her to lie to staff about how she got the injuries.
He would regularly check her phone, take control of her car and call her and make derogatory comments if she went out walking.
She ended the relationship in October last year when he “pushed her over the edge” by eavesdropping on a conversation she had with her mother.
O’Shaughnassy apologised for his actions, but soon started sending abusive messages and harassing her by WhatsApp, voice message and text message.
Appearing by video link, the victim told Bournemouth Crown Court she hopes no other woman has to suffer what she went through at the hands of the defendant.
She said: “I feel lucky to still be alive.
“It was as if he was trying to trap me in my own home, I felt lost. I do not think Terry has any idea of the impact he has had on my life.
“He made me feel trapped and isolated from the world. I was genuinely scared of what Terry was capable of.
“This man is more than capable of killing someone.
“I really hope Terry realises how his actions impact on people. I pray I am the last woman who has to go through this pain.”
Doctors said she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his behaviour.
When interviewed O’Shaughnassy denied any physical altercations but later pleaded guilty to controlling and coercive behaviour.
Nick Robinson, defending, said O’Shaughnassy was sorry and remorseful for what he had done and had taken “demonstrable steps” to address his behaviour.
Judge Pawson said the victim had to show a “great deal of courage” to end the relationship and even after this point, O’Shaughnassy bombarded her with messages, which included him saying “I’m going to snap your neck”.
He told the defendant that it was “hard to imagine” how any man could act the way he had towards a woman, especially given the offender is a father-of-two with a daughter.
O’Shaughnassy was jailed for two years and eight months and the judge issued an indefinite restraining order.