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Personal trainer hit girlfriend across the face with a keyboard and spat at her

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A personal trainer who repeatedly kicked his girlfriend as he told her "you need discipline," has been jailed.

Michael Howe, 28, was branded a "considerable risk to women" after he launched an attack on his girlfriend at home on June 29.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Howe saw she had received a text message from an ex-partner and erupted in rage.

Prosecuting, Cecilia Pritchard, said Howe kicked his victim twice, once in each leg, hard enough to make her fall to the floor.

He then told her: "You need discipline. You're spoilt. If you don't have discipline you will never learn," before leaving the property, Liverpool Echo reports.

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Two days later, Howe attacked his then-girlfriend again after he accused her of telling a friend he was "insecure".

Pritchard then dragged her off a sofa by both ankles and kicked her in the leg, causing a "dead leg" and leaving a bruise.

He also called her a "slag" and told his victim: "You've got an attitude problem and it needs slapping out."

Howe, who works at JD Gyms as a personal trainer, then picked up a keyboard and used it to hit her across the face, leaving a red mark.

The victim told Howe she felt "pins and needles" but Howe spat in her face, grabbed her throat and banged her head on a radiator.

Pritchard said Howe then raised his hand as if to slap her, but stopped inches away from her face, before warning that he would kill anybody if they found out what he had done.

His victim bravely called the police and Howe was arrested and initially denied the attack in an interview.

Howe later admitted assault by beating, assault causing actual bodily harm and breaching his suspended sentence.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said the ordeal affected every aspect of her life, from her confidence and self-worth to her career, as she failed professional exams.

Defending, Nick Cockrell said it appeared Howe had not started a domestic violence course which was part of his last sentence because of lockdown.

Judge Louise Brandon said: "He might have had some difficulty anyway, given he didn't tell the Probation Service about his new relationship."

Mr Cockrell said two character references spoke "very positively" of Howe and said he was now mentoring other inmates.

He also said he knew there was also a "very different side" to his client, which Howe knew he needed to address, as the abuser sobbed in the dock.

Judge Brandon told Howe his second attack, when the "violence increased considerably", left his victim "absolutely terrified".

Howe bowed his head as Judge Brandon recounted the "devastated" victim's statement, but Judge Brandon ordered: "Look at me, Mr Howe."

She said: “You do not deserve her compassion and her sympathy."

"You deliberately targeted her as your girlfriend, as the person to take out your anger and deep-rooted problems on."

Mr Cockrell urged Judge Brandon to accept Howe was remorseful and beginning to realise he had a problem.

Judge Brandon said: “That might have carried more weight if we hadn't been here before" – adding that he had been given chances to change previously and rejected them.

"You pose a considerable risk to women."

Howe’s suspended sentence was activated in full and Judge Brandon jailed him for two years and eight months in total.

She imposed a five-year restraining order to protect his victim.

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