A man set a dog on his girlfriend on her birthday, leaving her needing more than 30 stitches and scarred for life.
Lucy Jackson-Stifanese, 31, met “charming” Ben Robertson on Tinder – and within a few weeks they were living together.
Three months later, he hit her for the first of many times, but Lucy was in denial and stayed with Ben, the Daily Star reports.
However, when she used Clare’s Law – a scheme to let people find out from police if their partner has a history of domestic violence – a police officer warned her, saying: “Leave now or you will die.”
Lucy, a PE and swimming teacher, said: “Ben seemed to be everything I ever wanted. I was smitten and soon afterwards we moved in together.
“It was small changes at first. He’d tell me not to wear make-up.”
Soon, the emotional abuse turned physical.
Lucy, from Essex, said: “After one argument the neighbours heard the shouting and saw him being violent to me and rang the police. He had dragged me out of bed naked and put me on the balcony.”
On Lucy’s 31st birthday last July, Ben set a dog on her.
She said: “It was a Staffordshire bull terrier he’d brought home to look after.
“We argued as I wanted to go to see my family, and he ordered the dog: ‘Go for her!’
“I needed over 30 stitches to my face and arm, a blood transfusion and plastic surgery.”
Lucy said she still stayed with Ben, until she was told he had abused four other women and had even been sent to prison twice.
She said: “The police officer said Ben had locked one woman inside a house and hit another repeatedly with a bottle. But I didn’t want to believe any of it.
“The police officer replied, ‘I’m promising you, Lucy. If you don’t leave him now, you’ll end up dead’.”
Lucy pressed charges, with a court hearing fixed for January 8 – but in December last year Ben took his own life, aged 36.
Lucy is now urging any women who suspect their partner is mistreating them to contact police.
She said: “If you have any doubt whatsoever about the person you’re with, get them checked out under Clare’s Law. It could save your life.”
Clare’s Law allows police to disclose information about a partner’s previous history of domestic violence or violent acts.
It was introduced in 2014 after a campaign by Michael Brown, the father of murdered Clare Woods, 36.
The mum of one was strangled and set on fire at her home in Salford, Lancashire, in February 2009 by boyfriend George Appleton.
He had a record of violence against women.
Michael argued that her death could have been prevented had she known her partner’s history.
Theresa May, who was Home Secretary when the law was introduced, said: “Domestic abuse shatters lives – Clare’s Law provides people with the information they need to escape an abusive situation before it ends in tragedy.
“The national scheme will ensure that more people can make informed decisions about their relationship and escape if necessary.
“This is one of a raft of measures this government has introduced to keep women and girls safe. The systems in place are working better but sadly there are still too many cases where vulnerable people are let down. Today is an important step towards ensuring we do better by women like Clare Wood in the future.”