Boyfriend jailed over horrific attack on pregnant partner
THE boyfriend of a pregnant Bundaberg woman has been jailed over his violent assaults including gouging both her eyes and choking her.
Just hours before the assaults she had found him in a bedroom with a gun.
"It would be a terrible thing if she or her unborn child had died that night," Judge Brendan Butler SC told the father-to-be, seated in the dock before him.
Corey Grills, 28, pleaded guilty in the District Court at Bundaberg to unlawfully choking the woman at 2.30am on April 16 in a domestic relationship; unlawful assault causing bodily harm; and contravening a domestic violence order.
Crown prosecutor Carly Whelan said the woman was 11 weeks pregnant and in a volatile relationship with Grills.
At the time he was subject to a domestic violence order under which he was not to have any contact with her unless he had her permission in writing.
Ms Whelan said the woman had earlier walked into a bedroom and saw Grills holding a gun and convinced him to put it down.
They had gone out with friends and after returning home around 2.30am the pair argued. Grills pushed her on to the bed and put his hand around her throat and applied pressure for 15-20 seconds.
"She used the last of her breath to say she couldn't breathe and had been close to losing consciousness," Ms Whelan said.
"She rolled and he lost his grip."
Grills put her in a headlock, his right hand around her neck and his left hand covered her mouth and nose.
He punched her left eye with a fist, delivered punches to the back of her head and "gouged both her eyes with his fingers".
Ms Whelan said he used a balled-up towel to cover her face but stopped assaulting her when she told him she thought she had lost her baby, but kept a tight grip to prevent her leaving.
The woman suffered bruising to both eyes, face and neck, and scratches to her neck and back, and felt pain to her throat, saying it was painful to swallow.
She could only speak in a whisper as her throat had been hurt.
Ms Whelan said Grills was arrested on April 18 following a six-hour stand-off with police but had not been charged.
Judge Brendan Butler said it was clear from Grills' criminal history drugs were a significant factor.
He said the facts show it to be a prolonged and significant example of abuse, where Grills seems to have returned to choking in various forms in the course of his conduct.
Defence barrister Jessica Horne said the woman was at court to support Grills.
"She says he never punched her before and she was shocked," Ms Horne said.
Ms Horne said Grills began using ice 18 months ago and suffered depression, had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and said he felt better when on the drug as he could cope.
She said Grills was concerned how they would manage their life in the future and the woman was upset he had been charged and she signed a withdrawal of the complaint.
Judge Butler said Grills acted in a violent and aggressive way over a period of time and continued to punch her.
He said the specific offence of choking was introduced "because of the great danger it poses to women when strong and violent men resort to doing that - they can be easily killed".
"Are you able to commit to never doing that again?" Judge Butler queried.
"Yes," Grills replied.
Grills was sentenced to 20 months jail on each offence; and four months for the breach of domestic violence order.
He will be released on parole in five months.
His heavily pregnant girlfriend sobbed and was comforted by a friend.