A MAN considered to pose, “an imminent risk of serious harm” to female partners has received a five-year extended determinate prison sentence.

It follows sustained violence committed by John Keith Burgin on his partner, plus damage to her Spennymoor home, in December.

Durham Crown Court was told it left her suffering multiple injuries over her head and body, as well as deep psychological distress.

David Lamb, prosecuting, said she knew Burgin from school days but they only began a relationship in October.

Mr Lamb said the first violence followed a play fight, when the burly 20-stone-plus defendant used his physical advantage to grab her by both arms and pressed them to her chest to the point where she struggled to breathe.

In following weeks he punched her forcibly in the ribs, struck her with a children’s golf club in the back, pressed a pillow to her face and then squeezed his hands firmly round her throat, both leaving her struggling to breathe, before biting her right cheek.

He later set light to a blanket she was lying under and when she tried to flea the house he dragged her back and threw her onto the bed.

She used a prearranged medical appointment the following day to reveal the heavy bruising and other injuries across her body.

Fearing for her life, it was reported to police and while at the station she received a threatening message from the defendant who also left a noose formed with a belt hanging from a loft entrance at her home.

Burgin, 30, of Greenwood close, Wheatley Hill, who made denials on arrest, only admitted causing grievous bodily harm, and two charges each of assault and criminal damage weeks before a scheduled trial last month.

Vic Laffey, in mitigation, said previous partners have had no complaints over his behaviour, including a woman he met while backpacking in Australia, who has since given birth to his child, and with who he was still in communication.

Judge James Adkin said it was a disturbing, “catalogue of violence and intimidation” and agreed with a probation assessment over the risk Burgin poses to female partners.

The custodial element of the sentence is four years, but he may have to serve the full term behind bars.

He will then be subject to 12 months’ extended licence.

An indefinite restraining order was made preventing Burgin from approaching or contacting his victim.