Man imprisoned for violently assaulting his girlfriend

A Mosgiel man who tore out some of his partner’s hair and abused her for hours in a vicious New Year’s Eve attack has been jailed for 22 months.

Nathan Steven Graham (30) had marked the turning point of the year by consuming a large amount of alcohol as well as MDMA and Ritalin, Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.

He and his partner were in bed when the abuse started.

It was verbal at first, but Graham’s rage quickly turned physical.

He punched the victim up to 15 times in the head, using both fists, before smashing his mobile phone and throwing it to the ground.

Graham grabbed the woman by the hair and dragged her 10m to the bathroom.

He used such force that hair was torn from his scalp, according to court documents.

Once inside the bathroom, the accused removed the victim’s clothing, pushed her into the cold shower and told her to clean herself up.

Even then, the woman received no respite.

Graham continued the torrent of abuse and banged his head against the shower wall three times.

After pulling the victim out, he pushed her down the hallway, causing her to fall into a child safety gate.

Graham climbed on top of her and started squeezing her throat.

When he released his grip, he hit her several times, then demanded that she go back to bed.

The woman was so terrified that she obeyed him.

As they lay there, the court heard how Graham retrieved a butcher’s meat cleaver and told him he would “cut his throat and no one would know”.

If she told anyone about what happened, he would kill her parents, the defendant said.

To underscore his point, Graham slammed the knife on the bed in a stabbing motion.

After smashing glass objects and ordering the victim to change the bedding, he spent the rest of the night continuing the verbal tirade.

It wasn’t until the sun rose and Graham went to take a shower that the woman was able to take her toddler and flee the house.

Judge Michael Turner noted that the crimes occurred while the defendant was serving his sentence and had a history of domestic violence dating back several years.

A psychological report put Graham at high risk for future violence.

While attorney Chris Lynch said his client was receptive to treatment, the judge said Graham had received rehabilitation interventions in the past and that had not been a catalyst for lasting change.

Graham was convicted of strangulation, injuring with intent to injure and threatening to kill, and a protective order was entered in favor of the victim.

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