A jealous ex-soldier who forced his grieving teenage girlfriend into his cellar at midnight and terrorised her, attacking her so viciously she feared she would bleed to death, is behind bars.
Burnley magistrates heard how “controlling” Jason Edward Haw struck the day following Laura Smith’s grandmother’s funeral, after she had gone to talk about her distress with her ex-partner, who was still her close friend.
Furious Haw had turned up at the 18-year-old’s home in the town, dragged her forcibly from the house in her pyjamas and pulled her down the path and into his car.
He had then driven the petrified teenager to his property, where he had hauled her out of the vehicle and across the street into his address and ordered her to go down steep steps in the dark into his basement.
The hearing was told Haw (22) snatched Miss Smith’s phone and searched for messages she had swapped with her ex. He banged her head hard against a wall, pinned her down, sat on top of her and demanded to know if she had had sex with him.
The defendant shouted “Have you got love bites?” before stripping the victim half-naked, inspecting her body for bites and smashing her head on a radiator.
The court heard Haw later took Miss Smith, who was bleeding profusely from a “nasty” gash to the front of her head, to hospital, after calmly tidying up the cellar.
There, he pretended to be a devoted boyfriend and laughed and joked with her in front of nurses - but carried on tormenting her when staff were out of the room. He then drove the victim home and demanded she sleep with him.
Miss Smith was so scared she lied to both medics and her parents about the cut on her head, telling them she had fallen, even though a nurse had asked if Haw was responsible.
The JPs were told it was the last and most serious of three frightening assaults Haw had inflicted on the victim in the space of weeks.
The defendant, who recently has been working in security, admitted three counts of assault by beating, two on or between last September 1st and October 31st and the most serious last November 14th.
Haw, of Brooklands Road, Burnley, was jailed for 16 weeks, the maximum the magistrates could impose, with credit for his guilty plea. He also received a three year restraining order, banning him from contacting Miss Smith.
Prosecutor Mrs Enza Geldard told the court Miss Smith met Haw, now her ex-partner, at a youth club and they started a relationship in mid to late July, last year.
Mrs Geldard said: “She says they argued all the time, every day almost and describes him as being very controlling.”
The prosecutor said a month before the assault last November 14th, three months into the relationship, Haw restrained the victim as she scratched the back of her hand, a nervous habit of hers he disliked.
He held her down on the bed, pinning her with her wrists for over an hour. Mrs Geldard said: “She was frightened. It was hurting her. She told him to stop and he refused.” Miss Smith was left with sore shoulders and wrists.
The prosecutor said six weeks before the most serious offence, the pair were arguing and Haw went to grab the victim. She held up her arms, he made contact with them, accused her of strangling him and went for Miss Smith’s throat.
Mrs Geldard continued: “He grabbed it with his hand and she went back into the wall. He grabbed her windpipe with his fingers and dug into her throat.
“She began to cry and was really scared. He asked ‘Did I hurt you?’ She replied ‘Yes’, but he then tried to blame her for attempting to strangle him.
“During this incident, she says, he had no expression on his face and she was very frightened.”
The prosecutor said last November 14th, the day after her grandmother’s funeral, Miss Smith went to her ex-boyfriend address. He was still a close friend and she went to talk to him about how upset she was.
The defendant went to her home, spoke to her parents who told him she wasn’t in and he found out she was at her ex’s house.
Mrs Geldard continued: “He began going mad at her parents’ house, left and began messaging and ringing her and also ringing two of her friends.
“She was afraid and began messaging him on Facebook, saying she didn’t want to see him that evening.”
Mrs Geldard said at midnight, Miss Smith was at home when Haw messaged her, saying he was outside.
She ignored him and he started throwing things at her window. She went downstairs, he demanded she leave and go to his house and she refused.
The prosecutor went on: “He grabbed her and dragged her down the path. She was trying to get away. The ground was wet and she was scraping her feet.” Miss Smith was pulled into Haw’s vehicle and he set off to his house.
Mrs Geldard went on: “He was saying ‘Why would you do this to me?’ She was repeating she had not done anything and he replied ‘Don’t lie’.
“He pulled her over to his side by her hair. She was trying to reason, but he wouldn’t listen.
“He then shoved her back over to the passenger side, pulled up outside his house and pulled her out of the car and across the street.”
The prosecutor said the victim remembered feeling very cold as she was dragged into the property.
She tried to get away, but he took her to the top of the cellar stairs and told her to go down. Miss Smith was scared she would be thrown down the steps.
He pushed her onto a mattress on the floor, put on an electric radiator, took her mobile phone and looked at messages between her and her ex, getting himself worked up.
Mrs Geldard said Miss Smith reached across for her phone and Haw pushed her with both hands and banged her head hard on the wall.
He then pinned her down and sat on top of her, demanding to know if she had had sex with her ex and if she had love bites.
The prosecutor told the hearing: “She says he ripped her pyjama top off and ripped her bra off.
“He began scrambling over her body, checking her for love bites. She was pleading with him to take her home. She has gone to grab her phone again and he hit her on the cheekbone so hard she has fallen back onto the bed.”
Mrs Geldard said the defendant saw a message to the victim’s ex and as she tried to leave, the defendant grabbed her by the hair, pulled her down and banged her head on the radiator. She got up and couldn’t walk.
Miss Smith then managed to get to the other side of the room and tried to get her phone. Haw pushed her hard onto the bed.
She screamed, put her hand to her head and realised she was bleeding badly.
Mrs Geldard continued: “She was in sheer panic. She says she thought she was going to die she was bleeding that badly.
“She was terrified, at which point the defendant said he would take her to hospital. Before he took her, he tidied the room.”
The prosecutor said Haw took Miss Smith to the Royal Blackburn Hospital at 3am.
She continued: “In the waiting room, he was holding her as if he was a caring boyfriend, but he was continuing to argue with her, saying ‘Why have you done all this?’”
The defendant and victim then went to Burnley General Hospital, where they were put in a room.
Mrs Geldard said: “When she was treated, Laura says Jason was laughing and joking with her, but when the nurses left the room, he continued to have a go at her.
“She told the nurses she had fallen over and banged her head. She was asked if it was anything to do with Jason and she said she lied and said it wasn’t.
“The defendant took her home and he stayed at her parents’ house with her. He demanded she sleep with him, but she couldn’t.
“She knew she would be lying in bed with someone she would be terrified of. She told her parents a lie and said she had fallen.”
Mr Keith Rennison, in mitigation, told the hearing Haw accepted the way he behaved throughout the relationship was totally unacceptable and he was extremely sorry for what he had done.
He had ADHD and problems with hyperactivity and dyslexia and at the time had not been on his ADHD medication as he found it left him “doped up” and unable to function or work.
The solicitor continued: “What he accepts he should have done is gone back to the doctor.”
Haw had become upset and concerned Miss Smith was seeing her ex-boyfriend. He wanted to know why the relationship was breaking down. Mr Rennison said: “He is not perhaps as mature as an ordinary 22-year-old and acted in a way that he would say is out of character.
Mr Rennison said the defendant was medically discharged from the Army after a motorbike accident.
The solicitor continued: “This has been a wake-up call. He accepts what went on is thoroughly wrong and he is very apologetic.
“He realises he has a problem, particularly when relationships come to an end and it’s something he needs to address.”
Sentencing, bench chairman Mr John James told the defendant the third assault was so serious only custody was appropriate.
He said the victim was vulnerable, she had been taken from her home forcibly and against her will and the assault was sustained.
He said: “We feel there was a significant degree of premeditation. There was also degradation of the victim.
“You removed her top clothing and her bra to look for love bites on her upper body.”
Mr James added: “We do feel you have shown some remorse.”