A Balclutha man who subjected his girlfriend to three months of vicious abuse revived her with water just to continue a beating, a court has heard.

When confronted with the allegations, 28-year-old Samuel Anderson told police she had punched herself in the face.

He eventually pleaded guilty to four counts of assault with intent to injure, one of threatening to kill and one of supplying a class-B drug - all committed while on parole - and yesterday was sentenced before the Dunedin District Court to four years, five months' imprisonment.

The victim faced her abuser in court, where she reflected on the many times she thought she was going to die.

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In the days and weeks after she fled the relationship, she lived in fear that Anderson would track her down, she said.

She attempted suicide and ended up in intensive care in a coma at one stage.

The victim also said that she had since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder' 'and when triggered, live in the moments begging for my life and praying to God to save me''.

''My life has come to a halt,'' she said.

She and Anderson had been together for only a few months when the violence started.

On February 9 last year, an argument at home had led to the defendant head-butting the victim, knocking her unconscious.

Anderson splashed water on her face to bring her round but it was not so he could offer an apology.

He punched her in the face, ''smashing her nose and chipping her tooth''.

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Within two months, Anderson was at it again.

Anderson took his partner's cellphone as he left the house and when she objected he threw her on to the bed.

While astride her, Anderson pulled her fingers back, tried to gouge her eye, elbowed her in the face, slammed his knee into her tailbone, pressed the pressure points behind her ears and forced a pillow against her face.

The attack left the victim covered in bruises and abrasions - but the extended ordeal was still not over.

On May 9 last year, the relationship ended when Anderson tried to strangle his girlfriend and she bit him on the arm, resulting in him seeking hospital treatment.

Despite the couple parting ways, the defendant ''badgered'' the victim to see him again a week later.

He threatened to burn her books and photos if she did not, the court heard.

When she finally agreed to meet, Anderson picked her up in his car, accused her of seeing another man and threatened to kill both of them.

He followed up the threats with several punches to the woman's face.

Anderson then got out and retrieved a hammer from the car's boot but the victim escaped before he could use it

A pre-sentence interview with Probation was ''damning'', Judge Kevin Phillips said.

Anderson expressed no remorse, was reluctant to undertake treatment and shifted the blame to the victim.

The judge said: ''For me to describe the impact [on the victim] as severe is a ridiculous understatement.''

''It graphically shows ... what this ongoing domestic violence does to women placed within her situation. It is a sad indictment of our society that you're not the first and you won't be the last to sit in the dock getting sentenced for serious domestic violence.''

Anderson was deemed as presenting a high risk of reoffending, a view endorsed by the victim.

''I believe he is a danger to other women and that will not change,'' she said.

''[The next victim] may not be as lucky as I was to come out of it alive.''

Judge Phillips made a protection order in favour of the woman and called her ''extremely brave'' for enduring such trauma.