A DOMESTIC abuser from Worcester has been jailed for viciously assaulting his ex-girlfriend and threatening to burn down her house and chop her head off.

Matthew Pegler strangled Bethany Middleton in her home in Grimsby during the brutal assault.

Miss Middleton, 25, told the Worcester News that she had been in a relationship with 26 year-old Pegler but they split up in May last year.

Since then, Pegler carried out a campaign of abuse against her, sending threatening messages before the shocking attack in her home in May this year.

Miss Middleton said: “He and his mate from Worcester came up here without anyone knowing to spy on me. When he found out where I was, he forced his way in and grabbed me, strangling me until I hit my head off the freezer.

“He strangled me until I went blue in front of three kids. My little sister had to ring the police.”

Grimsby Live, who covered the case at Grimsby Crown Court, reported how Pegler had accused Miss Middleton of cheating on him with other men and told her that she would end up in a “bottomless pit” and that he was “having the last laugh” on her.

He also warned her she and their daughter would “both never see daylight” along with sending her a photo of him holding a meat cleaver.

Pegler admitted assaulting Miss Middleton, causing actual bodily harm, as well as three offences of harassment.

Since the assault, she has been forced to move house, and said she hopes to live her life in peace.

In a terrifying series of abusive messages, Pegler, of Shakespeare Road in Dines Green, Worcester, said he was going to burn the house down with her inside and that Miss Middleton should tell her landlord.

He also threatened to kill her family, saying he was nearby with his dog and would be arriving to remove their daughter.

The court heard Miss Middleton was terrified he would carry out the threats.

In all, Pegler called Miss Middleton between 15 and 20 times, with between 20 and 30 calls from withheld numbers..

In one call, Pegler said he had people with guns and would be there in an hour.

On May 31 he returned to the house, banging on the door and shouting threats. Later, on June 2, he was seen with a meat cleaver saying “If i can’t have you, no one can” as well as saying “None of your lives will be worth living”.

Father-of-three Pegler’s previous convictions include assault causing actual bodily harm, assaults, affray, possessing an imitation firearm, robbery and possessing a blade.

Some of the victims of the previous offences were women, including another ex-girlfriend.

Pegler, an unemployed tree surgeon, said he bitterly regretted the way he behaved.

He had been unable to find any work because of the lockdown caused by coronavirus, he said.

He told the court he had “over-reacted” but was remorseful.

Judge Mark Bury said: “These offences are serious. This was a sustained assault.”

He jailed Pegler for three years, and imposed an indefinite restraining order.

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