A jealous thug grabbed his ex partner by the hair and pulled her into his van before driving dangerously at speed and threatening to drive them both off a cliff.
Ashleigh McCarthy, 28, even used his van to repeatedly knock over ex girlfriend Shauna John as she tried to escape from him.
He turned up to a house party at her home in Maesteg, Bridgend, on May 15 but then drove her away from the party and falsely accused her of cheating on him with her ex husband.
Ms John was pleading for her life and ran to strangers passing by in a car, telling them “I don’t want to die”.
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A sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court on Thursday heard the defendant and the victim were in a relationship between September 2020 and May this year and had arranged a house party but after the couple split up, McCarthy arrived at the house at 7.30pm on the day of the party.
Prosecutor Thomas Stanway said the defendant beeped his horn and Ms John approached him and told him to leave. He later returned, asked her if her ex husband was at the party and began deliberately staring at another man. In order to spare her guests embarrassment and as a result of threats, Ms John got into the van and McCarthy drove her off.
He drive to a lay by and became angrier and accused the victim of cheating on him. Mr Stanway said the defendant began “ranting and raving” and Ms John got out of the van to walk home, but McCarthy drove behind her and mounted the curb so she got back in.
The defendant showed Ms John bags of cocaine and she began throwing them out the window, to which McCarthy pushed her out of the van, telling her to recover the drugs. When she ignored him and continued walking, he drove into the back of her legs, causing her to fall into nettles.
McCarthy abused her and filmed her with a mobile before getting out of the van, grabbing her by the hair and attempting to drag her back into the van. She attempted to run away but the defendant grabbed her in a “bear hug”, dragged her and bundled her into the van.
He then locked the doors and windows and drove off.
Mr Stanway said: “As Ms John pleaded with him and told him to think about her baby, the defendant said ‘I don’t give a f*** about the baby, it’s not my baby’. He pulled her around the neck towards him and grabbed her by the hair while driving around a corner at speed.
“He said ‘I’m going to kill you’. The driving lasted half an hour and the defendant also threatened to drive them off a cliff. Ms John could see the car reaching speeds of 65mph. At on point she opened the door and he swerved while putting his handbrake on which caused her to nearly fall out of the door.”
The ordeal came to an end when McCarthy stopped to smoke a cigarette and Ms John got out of the van to flag a passing car for help. She said to the driver “I don’t want to die” to which McCarthy responded “Stop making a fuss”.
Ms John was taking to hospital where she received treatment for bruises and abrasions to her hands and feet and pain to her scalp.
McCarthy was arrested in a layby on Bridgend Road at around midnight and was found to almost three times the drink drive limit, with a reading of 98mg in 100ml of breath recorded.
Following his remand in custody, the defendant telephoned Ms John from prison and threatened her to withdraw her witness statement, but she refused and called the police.
McCarthy, of Pen y Mynydd, Croeserw, Neath Port Talbot, later pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, affray, dangerous driving, and witness intimidation.
In a victim personal statement read out to the court, Ms John said she suffered anxiety, had been referred to a psychiatrist for PTSD as a result of the incident and lived in “constant fear” with the slightest of noises causing her to panic.
She added: “The defendant was someone I loved and trusted but since he’s done this to me it’s changed me as a person. I’m depressed, irritated and unable to sleep. Every day is a living nightmare and I wish I could go back as I would never have pursued this relationship.”
Ms John said she feared McCarthy would “finish what he started” and would take her life.
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In mitigation, defence barrister Nik Strobl admitted this was a “truly horrific incident” but said his client did not plan the attack and “worked himself up into a state”.
He said McCarthy had never been in prison before and had lost contact with his daughter from a previous relationship, had lost his employment and a new relationship as a result of his incarceration.
Sentencing, Judge Niclas Parry said: “A young mother was terrified by you. This was a case about control, control through violence and you acted out of pure jealousy. You deliberately visited her home, subjected her to questioning and despite her every effort to diffuse the situation you decided to use your car as a weapon.
“She believed she might be seriously harmed and that’s what you wanted her to believe.”
McCarthy was sentenced to a total of 27 months imprisonment, was disqualified from driving for 25 months and was made subject to an indefinite restraining order.
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