A woman who was brutally attacked by her ex-boyfriend has urged other victims of domestic violence not to suffer in silence.
The victim, aged 24, who doesn't want to be named, sustained serious facial injuries when she was subjected to a vicious and prolonged attack by her ex-partner, Bradley Want, at the home they shared in York.
Want was sentenced to 16 months' imprisonment at York Crown Court today for the attack which has left her with lasting emotional and physical scars.
Her was further sentenced to two months in prison for attacking her friend on the same night.
During the assault she feared for her life and wondered if she would ever see her young son again. She suffered bruising and bleeding to her face, arms and body. Her nose was very badly fractured, requiring her to undergo reconstructive surgery. She also has a nasal blockage and grossly deviated septum making it difficult for her to sleep.
Despite her ordeal she wants other victims to read her story and find the strength to come forward.
She said: "My ex-partner's attack on me has had devastating effects both physically and emotionally. I have had to attend several traumatic hospital appointments and, as a result of this brutal assault, I have had to undergo major corrective and cosmetic surgery.
"Emotionally the damage will take a long time to heal, if ever. The heartache I feel is mainly for my son. Just looking at him each day knowing that in the future this could potentially cause him a lot of pain is truly torture.
"The thought of my son alone is what got me through the attack. I will never forget what went through my mind that night, it was one of the worst feelings I've had and ever will have. I thought 'he's going to kill me, I'm never going to see my son again' - a feeling no parent should have to experience. My next thought felt so certain: 'I have to get through this for my son.' I was fighting for my life both mentally and physically.
"What hurt the most was my son having to see me afterwards and having to lie to him about how I sustained my horrific injuries."
She explained that she had been putting up with domestic abuse for a long time without realising it.
She added: "I got with Brad when I was young and had low self esteem, so I put up with things I shouldn't have. Whilst I regret putting up with the abuse I received, the reward for this was priceless - my beautiful son.
"Even though my experience was so negative, I am hoping to gain something positive from it. I hope there may be a chance that women in abusive relationships can see this and see the horrific results if you don't seek help when you feel the need to.
"Only the victims themselves can have a true understanding of what it is like to endure domestic abuse. Even after I was brutally assaulted I was still unaware that I had been the victim of domestic abuse, until I visited IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services) who helped me to understand that there were signs of domestic abuse very early in my relationship.
"Even if I can help one woman to seek help and leave an abusive relationship, I could be saving not just her but her family. Families suffer too.
"Victims often hide the abuse well but they give the odd cry for help and I urge family members and friends to be vigilant and if you're suspicious do something about it.
"The support I've had from family and friends has been amazing. I would also like to thank North Yorkshire Police, IDAS, Victim Support, Social Services and York Hospital for their help, support and protection."
Two weeks prior to the attack the victim and Want had separated but they continued living in the same house as neither could afford to move out.
On the night of 15 April 2012, she went out with a friend in York and bumped into two men who were old friends of Want's. At the end of the night all four parties returned to her house as the men wanted to catch up with her ex-boyfriend.
When they returned Want wasn't there but was expected back later on. While they waited for Want to return both the victim and her friend and the two men fell asleep, fully clothed, on a bed upstairs.
When Want returned home he found them all on the bed and assuming that they had been having sex, he attacked the two men and chased them out of the house. He then turned on the two women, launching a particularly brutal attack on his ex-girlfriend.
He then left the house to find the two men. While he was gone she locked the front door but when Want returned he tried to kick it down, before managing to get in through the back door and continuing his vicious assault on her.
Detective Constable Nick Lane, of York Protecting Vulnerable Person's Unit, who investigated the case, said: "This was a vicious and unprovoked attack on two defenceless women.
"No matter what Want incorrectly believed his ex-girlfriend may have been doing on that night, it can never justify the brutal and sustained attack he carried out.
"North Yorkshire Police's Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit is a dedicated team of specially trained officers who work in partnership with other agencies to pursue perpetrators of domestic violence.
"I encourage any victims of domestic violence to come forward and report domestic abuse. Not only will we work to convict offenders we can also put you in touch with organisations who can help you to live a life free of fear and violence."
Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Costello, of North Yorkshire Police's Protecting Vulnerable Person's Unit, said: "I am full of admiration for the courage this young woman has shown in coming forward and highlighting the dangers of domestic violence.
"She was the victim of a horrific attack but has been brave enough to try and take something positive from her experience and to help other victims.
"It is important that people understand that the police take domestic violence extremely seriously and you must seek help if you are in an abusive relationship. There is a way out and lots of support available to you."
If you would like to report domestic violence contact North Yorkshire Police on 101.
If you are in imminent fear of danger always call 999.
Information can also be passed on anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.
8.30am - 3 September 2012