Brute's violent behaviour caused girlfriend to lose her hair

A brute whose violent and controlling behaviour caused his long suffering girlfriend to lose large clumps of her hair has been put behind bars.

Tuesday, 18th February 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th February 2020, 2:42 pm

During their two-year relationship Matthew Edmonds, 30, knocked his partner's front tooth out with a punch to the face, forced her to surrender her phone to him then used it to send cruel messages to her mum and constantly accused her of cheating.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the stress of their two-year relationship caused the victim to start losing her hair and she had to resort to wearing a large, woollen hairband to hide her bald patches.

The court heard the couple, who lived together in South Shields, started seeing each other in 2017 and their relationship ended in 2019, when a neighbour called police who found her distressed.

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Matthew Edmonds

Footage from the officers' body cam showed the victim red eyed and crying while trying to cover her head with the woollen band in the street outside their home.

Prosecutor Deborah Smithies said the couple's relationship was initially "good" but Edmonds became angry and threatening while accusing her of "sleeping around" even though she had never been unfaithful.

The court heard the victim had left their home and packed her bags after one argument but Edmonds caught up with her at South Eldon Street in the town.

Miss Smithies said: "He physically attacked her, punching her in the face.

“She said she felt her right front tooth rip out of her gum and fall to the ground, her lips and gums bleeding.

"The defendant picked up her tooth and took her back to the flat.

"He cleaned her up and told her he was sorry."

The court heard the victim was left in pain and told nobody about her ordeal.

Miss Smithies said Edmonds' behaviour started to isolate the victim, whose friends gradually began to stay away.

The court heard the victim handed over her mobile phone to Edmonds' in a bid to stop the accusations he was making about her.

But Miss Smithies said: "He used the handset to send text messages to her mother, purporting to be from her, telling her she was a bad mother.

"He continued to be verbally abusive and controlling in behaviour throughout their relationship.

"The stress of living with the defendant, who was behaving in this way towards her, eventually caused her to start to lose her hair.

"She began to try and compensate by using a large, woollen hairband."

Edmonds, of no fixed address, admitted assault and controlling and coercive behaviour.

Judge Sarah Mallett jailed him for a total of 26 months with a restraining order to keep him away from the victim for a year.

The judge said the physical effect on the victim was a demonstration of the psychological impact and added: "Her hair began to fall out to the extent the hair loss was significant."

Robin Turton, defending, said Edmonds plans to move to Southampton when he is released from prison and that his behaviour was a product of his "personality and illnesses" he has suffered.