A man’s aggressive and controlling nature surfaced after a “honeymoon period” in a gradually more abusive relationship with his now ex-partner.

Steven Kennedy, who has past convictions for offences committed during his time with other women in the last five years, is now back behind bars following a violent ending to his most recent relationship.

Timothy Jacobs, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court that the 40-year-old defendant’s past convictions include violence and property offences, some committed in a “domestic context”, in 2019 and 2021.

The last of those was for causing criminal damage, threats to commit criminal damage and battery for which he received an 18-month sentence, in 2021.

The Northern Echo: Steven Kennedy received a five-year prison sentence  for controlling and abusive treatment of now

Mr Jacobs told the court the defendant now stands to be sentenced after pleading guilty on the day of trial to controlling and coercive behaviour in a relationship, between October 2022 and October 2023, unlawful wounding and assault causing actual bodily harm.

The final two offences were both committed after a prolonged row with his most recent partner, on October 5, last year.

Mr Jacobs said the complainant entered the relationship with Kennedy shortly before his recall to prison following his last sentence, in 2022, and it continued after his release.

He said she described some “good times” but, in hindsight, she views it as having been “toxic”, with arguments stemming from his jealousy, suspecting that she had been unfaithful, which she denied.

At one stage Kennedy said she should take a lie detector test to prove her claims of fidelity.

The physical violence included a push to the floor before she was pinned to a bed.

Police were called to that incident, but the defendant was not arrested.

Mr Jacobs said the controlling aspects included Kennedy dictating who she could see and have contact with, as well as restricting her social media activities.

As a result she stopped using social media as she did not feel it was worth the bother.

Kennedy only allowed her to contact people on his phone, as she was only permitted to use her own phone without a SIM card.

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He insisted if he went to the gym she must be at her mother’s address and if she went out at other times there would be claims of infidelity.

Mr Jacob said matters came to a head on October 5, last year, when, after continued arguments Kennedy punched her several times to the head, causing her to go to the floor, where he continued to assault her despite her screams.

She went to the kitchen and managed to get out of the house, but in fleeing she noticed a blade protruding from her leg.

The victim could not recall how it got there, but she removed it and sought refuge at a neighbour’s house.

In her victim statement, read to the court, she described the “devastating” effect Kennedy’s actions had on her life, and she spoke highly of the work drug and alcohol agencies have had in aiding her recovery.

She described her fear of attending court believing she would have to give evidence in a trial against Kennedy, before his ultimate guilty pleas.

The court heard that the victim has also had ongoing issues, including nerve damage, to her wounded leg and, due to the scarring, she does not intend to ever wear a dress in future.

Robert Mochrie, for Kennedy, of Brackenfield Road, Framwellgate Moor, Durham, told the court in mitigation that he has specifically been asked to express his apologies to the victim over how he treated her, understanding what he did was, “wrong” and that he should not have behaved in that manner.

Judge Howard Crowson told Kennedy he became “irrationally jealous” of his partner believing her to have been unfaithful to him.

Apart from the control he maintained over her life, there were the incidents of violence, culminating in the events of October 5, when she fled with a blade protruding from her leg.

Judge Crowson said the coercive behaviour became persistent causing both physical and psychological harm.

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The judge also questioned Kennedy’s supposed remorse, given his record of similar past offending.

He imposed consecutive prison sentences totalling five years and put in place a ten-year restraining order.

Judge Crowson told the defendant that even if his ex-partner contacts him, he must ignore it, at risk of breaching the order.