Police woman had panic attacks during domestic violence training after being attacked by Gateshead ex

Samuel Cooper, who admitted assault
Samuel Cooper, who admitted assault -Credit:Northumbria Police

A woman was strangled and had her eye gouged by her former partner while they continued living together after breaking up.

Samuel Cooper had been in a relationship with the woman for around six years until April 2022 when she ended it due to what she described as his anger issues. She said he would become angry over small things and said it was a "volatile and difficult relationship".

The victim said Cooper didn't react well to the break-up and was reluctant to accept it. They continued to live together while they tried to sell the house but were sleeping in separate beds.

On May 2 2022, shortly after midnight, Cooper returned home drunk from a night out she thought he was trying to get into her bed or he may have been trying to get something from under her bed and she told him to get out. Omar Ahmad, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court: "He then pinned her down against the bed by putting his hands around her neck.

"He put his fingers into her left eye and she felt like he was trying to gouge her eye out. She pushed him off her, ran to the bathroom, locked herself in and phoned the police.

"While she was waiting for the police she went back to her room to get some clothes and he again assaulted her. He pushed her back on the bed and put both hands around her neck and she felt like she couldn't breathe."

Cooper, 28, of Brockwell Road, High Spen, Gateshead, then punched himself in the chest while lying on the floor and as she tried to get past him he punched her to the side and legs."

The woman ran to a neighbour's house to wait for the police. The neighbour said she was crying and shaking and was red in the face and struggling to get her breath or her words out.

When police turned up they saw that while she had no physical marks, she was upset and said her eye was in a lot of pain.

In a victim impact statement, she said she began training as a police officer in March 2023, which included training for domestic violence, which caused her anxiety and panic attacks and she had to leave some classes and do some of it alone.

She began counselling through the police and added: "Before counselling I had very little confidence in myself. I was constantly told I could do with going to the gym, told what I could wear and when I could go out with friends.

"I felt I had to put up with the name-calling, spitting, strangulation and I tried to take my own life because I believed it was easier. Even after this I stayed with him because he convinced me he was going to change."

She added: "This incident resulted in the loss of multiple friends. He continued to deny the attack happened and that caused friendships to break down."

The 28-year-old, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was sentenced to 22 months suspended for two years with 70 hours unpaid work. He must also do a building better relationships programme, pay £2,500 compensation and was given a ten-year restraining order.

Shada Mellor, defending, said it had been a bad idea for Cooper, who is now living with a new partner in the house and works in IT and as a photographer, to remain under the same roof as the woman after they split and said he described it as "like an overfilled kettle which boiled over".

She added: "He was devastated the relationship ended. He thought she was someone he would be spending the rest of his life with and he hoped the relationship would rekindle itself and they could move on together.

"He knows the way he behaved was very wrong and he is thoroughly remorseful and very sad at the situation both of them had found themselves in." The court heard his current partner describes a positive relationship and he has had counselling for relationship problems.