United Kingdom

Dental nurse whose nose was broken by boyfriend helped convict him after secretly recording threat

A dental nurse battered by her abusive boyfriend brought him to justice after capturing him on tape threatening her.

Tiana Crawford, 20, was left with a broken nose after she was punched and grabbed by the throat by Dontae O’Connor.

O’Connor, 21, also gave her a black eye, but he lied to police she caused the the injures herself.

Despite being five months pregnant brave Miss Crawford, of Gorton, Manchester, telephoned him about the slur and recorded their conversation.

She asked him why he assaulted her if he loved her but although he insisted she had hit herself then added: “I don't give a sh*t and don’t care- it is gang sh*t.

“You think it’s a joke, don’t go to police because you don’t understand how serious this is, if you take me to court obviously I am going after you.”

Tiana Crawford, 20, helped get evidence that convicted her boyfriend Dontae O'Connor, 21

Armed with the new evidence she went to police again who arrested him and this time he confessed.

Her ingenious trap was revealed in Manchester Crown Court where O'Connor admitted assault, occasioning actual bodily harm as well as witness intimidation.

He also confessed to assaulting an emergency worker, resisting a constable and criminal damage.

He was given 21 months jail suspended for two years due to his age and lack of previous convictions.

The court heard when Miss Crawford first called police he told her ‘do it you little tramp, what are they going to do, but if you do I’ll f*ck you up.’

She said in a statement he now suffers from anxiety and depression and her injuries still cause her pain, while she awaits hospital treatment delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dental nurse Tiana Crawford, 20, secretly taped Dontae O'Connor, 21, threatening her

Miss Crawford added: “The whole incident and relationship has made me feel tiny. He was the first person I have loved in a serious relationship.

“My mental health has become worse as a result and I am on medication for depression and anxiety. No one should ever have the things he said to me said to them.

“I put up with a lot because I loved him but it went on for far too long. I want him to understand how I feel. I am concerned he is making me out to be crazy.

“I am anxious in my social and work life and he terrified me into believing he would carry out the threats. He tried to belittle me and made me feel more and more scared. It was hard coming forward for the first time and even harder for the second time despite knowing it was the right thing to do.” 

The court heard O'Connor, also of Gorton, started dating her three years ago but he became controlling and would trawl through her social media when she was asleep.

He would then slap her when she woke up if he found content she posted which he didn’t like.

Dontae O'Connor, pictured giving a rude gesture to the camera, had his call secretly taped 

He would also demand she wash his hair, cook food and clean his room.

Prosecutor John Richards said: “The relationship had initially been good but it got worse with the defendant asking her to wash and cook. He was controlling and did not allow her to speak to anyone without his consent, told her to delete her social media.

“They argued at times when out shopping and he grabbed the back of her neck. She was five months pregnant when he pushed her to the floor, grabbing her by the throat and stopping her breathing for two to three seconds. ‘They broke up in September 2018 for seven months but then got back together. He would call her a slag and objected to her being on social media.

“He would go through her mobile phone when she was asleep and would hit her in the face when she woke up after finding things he did not like.

“He punched her and stamped on her a number of times between September and December last year but these were never reported to police.

“On the day of the assault on December 12 she went to his home because she owed him money. He had been with friends and was abusive towards her before punching her causing significant bleeding. ‘She said she was going to report this to police. He said ‘do it you little tramp what are they going to do?’

O'Connor admitted a series of charges at Manchester Crown Court after he was arrested again

“She went to the bathroom and he followed her. She was on her phone and ran outside before feeling something hit her in the face. He then hit her nose and she felt her nose and mouth bleed.

“She went for an MRI scan which found a possible nasal fracture. She was bleeding from her nose for an extended period of time and has a deformity to her nose shape as well as a black eye. She also had tenderness in her lower orbital wall and a nasal fracture was likely.

“She was due to have surgery but it has been delayed due to the pandemic. Her nose causes her pain when outside in cold weather and she is unable to breathe through her right nostril because the cartilage is bent. This has impacted her confidence in her appearance and she no longer allows people to take pictures of her. She hates the way she looks.

“She has had anxiety and depression in the past and these have become worse since the incident. She has a suspected fracture to her skull below her eye and was also told to wait six months for her nose to heal.

“Police told her the defendant suggested she had caused the injuries to herself and she decided to ring him. On December 27 she contacted him just before 10.25pm and asked him why he assaulted her if he loved her. He denied this and said she hit herself.

“He said he didn’t ‘give a sh*t’ and didn’t care- when she asked about something else he said it was ‘gang sh*t’. He told her ‘you think it’s a joke, don’t go to police because you don’t understand how serious this is’ and said ‘if you take me to court obviously I am going after you.’

“The defendant was arrested and when he was told he was being arrested he shut the door and tried to prevent police entering while being abusive towards them. One officer struggled to handcuff him and struck PC Johnston.

In mitigation defence lawyer Alexandra Sutton said O'Connor was young when they had started the relationship.

Sentencing Judge Nicholas Dean QC told him: “You behaved in an immature, bullying and violent way towards your former partner. She did nothing at all to provoke you in this way. You displayed unpleasant immaturity towards her and made unpleasant threats which did not stop her from coming to court to give evidence. Perhaps you recognised your immaturity when you pleaded guilty to these matters.

“She has grown up and but it seems you have not.”

O’Connor was also banned from contacting Miss Crawford her for five years under the terms of a restraining order. He must complete a rehabilitation programme for domestic abusers, 20 more general rehabilitation days and 120 hours of unpaid work.

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