A Dunedin man beat his girlfriend, roughly washed the blood from her face and told her she deserved such treatment, a court has heard.

The woman eventually escaped the house and flagged down a passing van with such agitation a member of the public called police concerned there had been a kidnapping.

Timothy Graham Moffatt, 43, appeared in the Dunedin District Court earlier this week after pleading guilty to assaulting a female and intentional damage of her property.

It was not the first time he had been held to account for his aggressive tendencies.

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"You are a recidivist violent person," Judge Emma Smith said.

While Moffatt had not been before the court for more than five years, his last visit was also on domestic violence charges, which resulted in a period of imprisonment.

And there were earlier instances of the defendant's brutality.

"You have not learned from almost any intervention the court has given you," the judge said.

After the breakdown of an eight-year relationship, Moffatt started seeing another woman, counsel Sarah Saunderson-Warner said.

It was only a couple of months before his frailties were revealed.

On September 5, Moffatt walked into the victim's bedroom, yelling allegations as she lay in bed that she had been unfaithful.

When the woman refused to hand over her electronic devices for his perusal, he took matters into his own hands.

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Moffatt slammed her laptop on to the floor and slapped her in the face. The blow caused a bruised jaw, chipped tooth and bloody lip.

The sight of blood on his partner's face was not enough to calm the defendant.

He dragged her into the bathroom and "roughly" cleaned her up, the court heard.

The man was sentenced to 12 months' supervision, 200 hours' community work and ordered to pay the victim $700 for her laptop. Photo / File
The man was sentenced to 12 months' supervision, 200 hours' community work and ordered to pay the victim $700 for her laptop. Photo / File

"As he did this the defendant told the victim she deserved to be treated in this way," a police summary said.

"Not only were your assaults degrading, they were sustained, repeated, within the home where she was in bed. You then degraded her further by your words," Judge Smith said.

She called the attack "cowardly", and it kept going.

Moffatt threw the victim to the ground twice, preventing her from leaving until she eventually saw a chance to flee.

Ms Saunderson-Warner said her client had problems with his business and his vehicle being stolen. Moffatt, she told the court, had begun a stopping-violence course.

He was sentenced to 12 months' supervision, 200 hours' community work and ordered to pay the victim $700 for her laptop.

Where to get help:
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youth services: (06) 3555 906
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
CASPER Suicide Prevention
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - DO YOU NEED HELP?

If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

If you're in danger now:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.

• Run outside and head for where there are other people.

• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.

• Take the children with you.

• Don't stop to get anything else.

• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:

• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843

• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633

• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450

• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584

• Ministry of Justice:

• National Network of Stopping Violence:

• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent.

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