By Rob Kidd
Warning: Distressing content
A woman has told of an emotionally abusive relationship that ended with her covered in chocolate spit and with two broken fingers.
It had been an "on and off" relationship for about a year, her ex-partner Craig Allan Taylor said yesterday.
Taylor appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday before Judge Michael Crosbie in a judge-alone trial, charged with injuring with reckless disregard. He had earlier pleaded guilty to wounding with reckless disregard.
The woman had moved into the Milton home he shared with his two children about three months before February 27, when things went sour.
It did not happen suddenly, Taylor had been sleeping on the couch for a week.
When the woman came home from visiting a friend, he was in bed watching television and she got in beside him. He told her to get out. When she refused, Taylor flipped her off the mattress on to the floor.
With the mattress covering her, she told the court, her then partner began "bouncing" on it. She demonstrated how she covered her head with her hands."
He bent my fingers right back and they broke," the woman said. "If it wasn't my fingers it would've been my face."
But Taylor denied it, said he had simply thrown her bag on top of her and gone to sleep in his son's room.
Judge Crosbie determined the victim's evidence was "clear and unequivocal", while Taylor was evasive at times, he said.
In a video statement the woman gave police in March, she spoke about how the relationship stripped her of her identity.
"Craig abused me, took everything from me until I had nothing and I was so dependent on him," she said.
The woman told police she had to get her friends to drop off feminine-hygiene products because he would not buy them for her.
"He just made me into a quivering mess. I used to be such a strong person, so independent. I just feel like a complete fool when I look back and I didn't see any of this happening."
After sleeping on a couch with her broken fingers, the pair clashed again the following morning. The victim claimed Taylor punched her, tried to drag her downstairs and forced his children to ridicule her as she lay in pain. But the defendant said it was she who had attacked him.
When asked whether that was the case, the woman said: "maybe". What was agreed was it started with them spitting at each other.
Taylor had been eating mini Easter eggs and sprayed the victim in his chocolate-filled saliva.
Judge Crosbie ruled it was most likely he had been first to spit, before the victim returned fire. It was enough to constitute an assault.
Taylor was convicted of injuring with reckless disregard because of the mattress incident.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to wounding with reckless disregard, after he smashed a bottle on the ground near the victim in December last year and a stray shard opened up a 7cm gash in her leg.
Taylor will be sentenced in October.
Where to get help:
If it is an emergency and you or someone you know is at risk, call 111.
• Women's Refuge: 0800 733 843
• Victim Support: 0800 842 846
• Lifeline: (09) 522 2999
• Family Violence Info Line: 0800 456 450