A “BULLY” throttled his partner with such force he broke their bed, a Swindon court heard.

Robert Gale, 26, also pushed his son’s mother into the bath, resulting in her falling under water, pulled her hair and kicked out at a car after he thought the woman’s friend was smirking at him.

But the Grange Park man was spared an immediate spell in custody after a judge at Swindon Crown Court heard he was remorseful, had stayed out of trouble in the 18 months since the offences took place and still regularly looked after their son. He was no longer in a relationship with his victim.

Tearfully expressing his thanks to Judge Jason Taylor QC after being given a 17 month suspended sentence, Gale said: “Thank you for this opportunity. I want to prove to people that I’ve changed and I’m really trying.”

Judge Taylor replied: “This is your chance. You need to take it.”

Earlier, prosecutor Robert Harding told the court Gale had been in a relationship with his victim. The couple had a child together.

On February 28, 2019, he kicked out at a car in which his then partner was sitting with her friend. He believed the friend had smirked at him. The kick caused the trim to fall from the car door.

Two months later, around April 11, he and his partner were arguing at home. He dragged her across the bedroom, pulling her hair, then choked her on the bed. Mr Harding said: “[The defendant was] squeezing really hard. She couldn’t breathe and thought she was going to die.” The attack was so forceful that Gale broke the bed. He then punched the bedroom door, which fell from its hinges. The son was in a nearby room.

On June 3, his partner was getting ready to have a bath. She and Gale were arguing about a family holiday when, as he admitted in a basis of plea, he pushed her into the bath.

The final assault took place on July 12, by which point the couple’s relationship had ended. The victim had gone to Gale’s home to drop off their son.

He was said to have taken umbrage that his ex appeared to be heading for a night out and told her that he couldn’t take the boy. He went on to put his head through the car window and headbutted his victim. She drove off but was followed by Gale, who tried to grab their son from the car then pulled the woman’s hair from behind.

Gale, of Holinshed Place, Grange Park, pleaded guilty on the day of his magistrates’ court trial to assault causing actual bodily harm. He had earlier admitted two charges of assault by beating and criminal damage. He was a man of no previous convictions.

Rob Ross, mitigating, said his client had been exposed to domestic violence as a child. “Almost as night follows day, we know that those who commit domestic violence were often either the victims of it or observed it as the default way of sorting out an argument.

“It is true to say it appears this defendant appreciated fairly soon after what happened in July 2019 that he was behaving in an abhorrent way and he was behaving in the way he’d always dreaded behaving because of what he’d seen as a child.”

He had referred himself to Lift Psychology but, Mr Ross said, would appreciate the help that the probation service could provide.

Gale was employed, had a child by a new partner and stable accommodation. He was remorseful and had not been in trouble before or since the assaults on his former partner. He continued to look after his firstborn on several nights a week.

Sentencing the man, Judge Taylor said of his April assault: “It must have been terrifying.” He added: “You were a bully and you used violence to express yourself.”

Gale received 17 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years. He must complete 200 hours of unpaid work, attend a domestic abuse programme run by the probation service and 10 rehabilitation activity requirement sessions, and pay £1,000 compensation and £250 costs. A restraining order limits his contact with his ex-partner for five years.