THE victim of a brutal domestic abuser who endured months of manipulation and violent outbursts has spoken out to warn other women not to suffer in silence.

She spoke to the Adver about her horrific experiences with Gary Johnson, which culminated in him chasing her with a knife, hitting her 16 times and knocking four of her front teeth out.

The 43-year-old has since been jailed for 22 months and given a 10-year restraining order against his young child and his victim, a 27-year-old woman from central Swindon.

READ MORE: More than 2,000 domestic abuse reports logged by Wiltshire Police this year

She said: “That was the breaking point, I had a hairline fracture in my mouth, he had a cut on his fist from where he’d hit my teeth. I fled the property and called the police.

“The abuse suddenly started after I fell pregnant with our daughter two years into our relationship. The first time of physical violence should be the last, because if you don’t try to stop it, it can escalate out of control very quickly.

“He pushed me, threw things at me, made threatening phone calls, hit me with chairs, and gave me a black eye.

“He was very manipulative and controlling. He took my phone, guilt-tripped me into prioritising his needs over mine, told me when I could see friends and family and where to go and what to wear.

“My whole life just fell apart completely.

“He played clever mind games which made me think I was going crazy, like stealing money from me and making me think I’d lost it. It was extremely scary and I was always frightened, I felt trapped, like I couldn’t fight it.

“I feared for my life and for my daughter’s life. She was in the room when he knocked my teeth out and he even tried to convince me to kill myself with him, but luckily she slept through the whole thing.”

Now that she knows all too well what a monster her partner was, she views the beginning of her relationship very differently.

She added: “I met him while I was training to be a nurse at university and wasn’t aware of what he was really like at first because he presented himself very differently.

“None of my friends realised he was that sort of guy because he would come across as a nice, friendly family man.

“I used to be outgoing and confident, but I gradually became more withdrawn, depressed and anxious while I was with him – I still take medication for anxiety.

“People should educate themselves about the warning signs of a perpetrator – lying, controlling, guilt-tripping, stealing money.

“If I’d known more about those signs, or read something like this when I’d first met him, I’d have noticed them earlier and stayed far away.

“But I didn’t, I stayed with him because I was young and naive and I was so swept off my feet that I missed all the warnings.

“He used to live in Eldene, then he was homeless when we got together, so I started renting privately and he moved in with me.”

After giving a statement to police when her violent ex was charged, the victim thought she may have to give evidence in court, but Johnson pleading guilty.

She was in court to see the moment her ex-partner was sent to jail.

She added: “The moment he was sentenced, I felt so relieved and I feel a lot better now.

"I’m working with programs like Women’s Aid and Choices, and the social services.

“This is going to take years to recover from, I’ve had to have extensive dental work which has cost a lot of money, and I’m worried about what will happen when he leaves jail.

“I’m trying to rebuild relationships with my family, I’ve lost a lot of friends, but the good ones have stayed and been very forgiving and understanding.

“I’m not interested in relationships right now, I don’t want to risk falling for another abuser.

“My daughter almost got taken away because of this relationship, which was awful, I can’t believe I almost lost her.

“I just want people to be aware of him and people like him so that what happened to me doesn’t happen to them.

“If you’re going through it, get in touch with Women’s Aid and the police, they can help.

“People die every week because of domestic abusers, so I feel like I need to warn others because this might save lives.”

To call Swindon’s branch of Women’s Aid, ring 01793 610610

Victim Support offers advice on the warning signs of unhealthy relationships which can lead to domestic abuse. Visit