A JEALOUS boyfriend has been jailed after he punched and strangled his partner and slashed her bed and clothes with a DIY knife.

Zachary Coleman, from Ashburton, hit his girlfriend so hard that he split her lip and left her needing stitches and strangled her almost to the point of unconsciousness.

He used violence to try to exercise total control of the terrified single mother during a six-months relationship in which he flew into jealous rages over the pettiest incidents.

He snapped her phone in half because she receiving a text from her ex-partner to arrange child care, he attacked her for delivering Christmas cards to friends. One assault was sparked by her thanking a stranger who let her go ahead of him at a cashpoint queue.

He became so angry that he punched holes in the walls of her home and broke off the handle of the kitchen door during one argument, forcing her to flee out of the ground floor window.

Coleman even slashed her headboard, mattress and clothing during one of his jealous rages. He strangled the victim in the final assault, which only ended when she managed to dial 999 as he had his hand around her throat. 

Coleman, 35, of Higher Roborough, Ashburton, denied but was found guilty of strangulation, assault causing actual bodily harm, common assault, controlling and coercive behaviour and criminal damage by a jury at Exeter Crown Court last month 

He was jailed for three years and 10 months by Recorder Andrew Willetts, who imposed a seven year restraining order to prevent any further contact with the victim.

He told him: ‘The photographs of the victim’s injury were shocking but the violence did not end there. In another fit of rage, you pulled her onto the bed and put your hands around and began strangling her.

‘She was a vulnerable person over whom you had control and were coercing. When you were strangling her you only released your grip when she managed to call the police. I don’t what would have happened if she had not made that call.

‘This was an incredibly serious offence committed in the context of domestic abuse. This was in her own home where she should have been safe. 

'She showed great bravery in giving evidence and facing the enormity of your breach of trust.


‘It is depressing that you have shown no understanding whatsoever about the nature of these offences.’

Miss Evie Dean, prosecuting, said Coleman was in a relationship with the victim and living at her home in Torbay in October 2022 when the controlling behaviour began.

His irrational jealousy led to a series of arguments, including one in the kitchen after she had just come home from delivering Christmas cards in December. 

He slammed her against a wall with his hand on her neck and hit her repeatedly in the head. She tried to push past him but he broke off the door handle, forcing her to jump out of the window to get away. 

The couple split up for a while but got back together and his violence resumed on March 7 he accused her of sleeping with his boss and pushed a milk carton which she was drinking into her mouth.

He punched her several times in the face, causing her teeth to puncture her lip, causing an injury which needed hospital treatment in which stitches were inserted. 

The final assault took place on March 31 when they were out together and she thanked a stranger who had let her jump a queue at a cash machine by saying ‘love you so much’.

When they got home he became jealous and pinned her down on her bed by her throat, stopping her breathing for a short time. She managed to call the police but he did not let them in. 

He went on to punch a hole in a wall and damage her coffee table. 

Coleman denied all the assaults and told the jury he was the victim of his girlfriend’s jealousy and aggression during the incidents.

Miss Zoe Kuyken, defending, said Coleman committed these offences at a time when he was undertaking a thinking skills course with the probation service as part of an earlier sentence. 

He has been remanded in custody since April and is making progress in prison, where he has been praised by the Governor for helping other inmates and appointed a supervisor in the gym.