A THUG who abused his ex-partner in an eight-month campaign of controlling behaviour and brutal violence has been spared jail.

During one of the 20 separate incidents of domestic violence Mark Lawrence held his victim against a wall by her neck and pulled a knife on her.

The 22-year old of Greenfinch Road, Didcot, also verbally abused her and carried out some form of domestic abuse on an almost daily basis.

Lawrence was set to stand trial at Oxford Magistrates’ Court but went on to admit one count of assault by beating and one of engaging in controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship.

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At his sentencing hearing at Oxford Crown Court yesterday prosecutor Kirsty Allman said that there were numerous incidents of violence during the year-long relationship.

She said: “[Initially] Things were good in that relationship and it was healthy, however he became controlling and abusive both mentally and physically.

“That had a serious impact on [the victim].

“She says there was physical abuse of some form or other almost every other day."

Ms Allman said the abuse - carried out in Abingdon between June 2018 and February this year - regularly involved Lawrence grabbing his victim by her neck and said this happened on ‘about 20 separate occasions’.

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Lawrence also ‘slapped’ and ‘kicked’ his victim numerous times.

Detailing some of the instances of abuse during the brief relationship prosecutors said that Lawrence verbally abused his victim calling her ‘worthless’ and ‘fat’ and saying her face made him ‘want to punch’ her.

On another occasion, enraged that she had walked home from work with another man, he told her ‘if I find out you have cheated I will rip your teeth out and kill you.’

The final incident of violence which brought the relationship to an end saw Lawrence grab the woman by her neck before taking out an eight-inch kitchen knife.

During this attack he shouted at her saying ‘you are worthless, you are ugly’ before making threats that he would stab her sister’s boyfriend.

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In a victim personal statement read to the court the 20-year old victim said that she now suffered post traumatic stress disorder as a result of her ordeal.

In mitigation at the hearing defence barrister Sumita Mahtab-Shaikh called the relationship ‘toxic’ and urged the court to suspend any term of imprisonment.

She said that her ‘immature’ client accepted that his behaviour was wrong and did plead guilty to the offences.

Sentencing, Judge Maria Lamb said that despite the ‘despicable’ behaviour of Lawrence she could suspend a jail term because of his personal circumstances.

Lawrence was jailed for 22 months suspended for two years and made subject to a community order to include 200 hours of unpaid work and 15 days rehabilitation activity requirement.

He must also complete the Building Better Relationships programme to tackle his offending and pay compensation to his victim of £500 and a victim surcharge.

Lawrence was also made subject to a restraining order.