A BUSINESSMAN who attacked his girlfriend on three different occasions has been sent on a course to curb his domestic violence.

Topsham builder Darren Bradford assaulted a former partner at his home and again at a mobile home where the couple were on holiday in Dawlish Warren.

The final assault, which ended the three year relationship, led to her seeking help from other holidaymakers at the Lady’s Mile site and then being taken to hospital with a bloodied nose.

Bradford had been drinking before all three incidents, including one on Christmas Eve, 2019 which started when she met an ex while they were out celebrating. He hit her in the head after an argument when they got home.

He smacked her in the mouth during an argument in August 2020 in which she hit him to get him to go away and he responded by laughing and saying ‘Is that all you’ve got’.

After being arrested, Bradford told police that he had been acting in self defence on each occasion.

He maintained his not guilty plea until the morning of his trial and entered a basis of plea which framed the offences in the context of a volatile relationship.

His partner wrote a victim statement after the assault at Dawlish Warren in which she said: 'It has really affected me. I put up with it for too long. I’m sick of it and fed up with him belittling me. He has left me battered and bruised.'

Builder Darren Bradford, aged 49, of Clyst Road, Topsham, pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm and coercive and controlling behaviour.

He was ordered to attend a probation-run Building Better Relationships course and 40 days of rehabilitation activities with 100 hours of unpaid community work by Judge Stephen Climie at Exeter Crown Court.

The judge made a seven year restraining order banning any further contact with the woman and ordered him to pay her £1,500 compensation.

He told him: 'Those who choose to continue behaving in this way often end up in prison. Your saving graces are that your basis of plea has been accepted and what I have seen written about you in the probation report.

'If I see you again in the next three years, it will be prison, either if you commit other offences or if you fail to complete this order or breach the restraining order.'

Miss Victoria Bastock, prosecuting, said the relationship was volatile with alcohol playing a part in all three incidents, which happened on December 24, 2019, August 13, 2020 and October 27 that year.

She said the first started after they got home for a local bar where she had met someone with whom she had previously had a brief relationship.

Miss Bastock said: 'After returning home, there appeared to be a confrontation in which she threw food on the floor and the defendant struck her to her head, causing a bruise to her ear.'

The next incident arose when she was helping him with a conference call to a female client, leading to an argument in which blows were exchanged and he taunted by laughing and asking ‘is that all you’ve got?’.

The assault which caused Ms Rose an injured nose happened after they returned to his motorhome from a show at the campsite where they had both been drinking.

He made a video call to his former partner and she tried to grab the phone, leading him to pin her down. She bit one of his fingers to try to get him off. She then poured two bottles of spirits away, leading him to pin her down again and hit her in the face, causing her nose to bleed.

She sought help from other holidaymakers and on-site security staff and the police were called. She was taken to hospital but not kept in. Bradford told police he had been acting in self-defence in each incident.

Mr Joss Ticehurst, defending, said Bradford received a community order last year for harassing a previous partner, an offence which happened after these ones. He had worked will with probation and received a positive report from them.

He said Bradford was keen to carry on working with probation and recognised he had further progress to make.

Mr Ticehurst said: ''He says through me that he is remorseful for his behaviour and ashamed of himself. He accepts his wrongdoing.'

He said Bradford’s ability to pay costs and compensation was limited because he runs his own building business and the last year had not been good, with him paying tax on an income of £30,000.