Evil Devon boyfriend broke partner's sternum during sock row

Daniel Dowd
-Credit: (Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A scaffolder from Paignton has been jailed for breaking his girlfriend's breastbone during a tantrum about not being able to find his work socks. Daniel Dowd, 39, pushed his elbow into the woman's chest as she came up the stairs until she 'felt a pop'.

She struggled on with her morning chores before going to hospital where medics found a fracture to her sternum. Dowd persuaded her not to tell anybody he had caused the injury and later told police she had done it herself.

But he eventually admitted his guilt and has now been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail. The court was told he has shown no remorse for his actions.

The pair got together in 2017, prosecutor Victoria Bastock told the court, and at first the relationship was good. But towards the end of 2021 there were tensions over Dowd's drinking and gambling.

⚠️ Want the latest Devon breaking news and top stories first? Click here to join our WhatsApp group. We also treat our community members to special offers, promotions, and adverts from us and our partners. If you don’t like our community, you can check out any time you like. If you’re curious, you can read our Privacy Notice ⚠️

He started to make unkind comments about her as a mother and demands about housekeeping. In June 2021 he woke up in a bad mood and started complaining he could not find his work clothes. His girlfriend found them but he then started demanding his socks.

When she came back upstairs he blocked her path and deliberately forced his elbow into her chest while holding onto her. She could not escape until he let go.

She went to hospital on her own in considerable pain where an X-ray revealed the fracture. She lied that she had fallen over while feeling faint. Dowd sent her a text saying not to implicate him. Despite her injury, Dowd regularly made her do chores in the house.

The relationship ended soon after when Dowd, who lived in her rented house, smashed her microwave. He continued to pester the woman until she told police about the assault and he was arrested.

Dowd denied causing actual bodily harm and while on conditional bail rekindled the relationship. But he continued to be abusive, calling her a 'psycho and a weirdo' before another incident of violence in September 2022. That involved him grabbing her wrists, pushing the woman over and pouring a bottle of wine over her.

In a victim statement the woman said his behaviour just got 'worse and worse' to the point she was 'constantly scared' of him. She said she felt under constant pressure about how she kept the house and her self-esteem was damaged 'to the point I wasn't even me anymore'.

"I spent most days living in fear of what might happen," she said. She said Dowd was also controlling and would make checks on her through the day.

Dowd, of Norman Road in Paignton, initially denied the offences. A trial started and was abandoned when he admitted his guilt to ABH and battery. Martin Salloway, defending, said the violence had been short-lived and spontaneous.

Recorder James Bromige said it was a lengthy abusive relationship. "She was scared of you and for good reason," he added. "She was showing ongoing pain three months later. You had no interest or remorse."

He imposed a 10-year restraining order on Dowd not to contact the victim.