A student who subjected his girlfriend to a terrifying campaign of coercive control and beatings has been spared jail.
Kai Wang, 21, kicked, punched and throttled his girlfriend even when she was pregnant, controlled her phone and isolated her from her friends and family.
Today, Brighton Crown Court heard she was left distressed and humiliated by his actions.
But bearing in mind his emotional immaturity and the effect of the nine weeks he has spent in prison while awaiting sentence, Judge Anne Arnold said she was “taking a risk” and sentenced him to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years.
Judge Arnold said: “Your actions were persistent over a relatively long period of time.
“Your conduct certainly in contacting the victim’s father, sending him photographs of a explicit nature and showing the pregnancy test result can only in my view have been designed to humiliate and degrade her further.
“You almost certainly used multiple methods of control here – controlling her phone, her friendship groups and indeed with a number of assaults.
“So far as the harm that the victim suffered, whilst there is no victim impact statement, the initial statement and the statements of the attending officers make plain the very obvious degree of upset and distress she suffered by virtue if the precipitating event which led to your arrest.
“In addition we have heard about the assaults on earlier occasions including kicking her to the stomach when you knew full well that she was pregnant.”
The court heard that Wang and the woman, who are both from China, met while they were studying in Sheffield in April last year and after a whirlwind romance moved in together after just one week.
It took just one more week for the abuse to start, when Wang assaulted her after he checked her phone and found she had been chatting to her ex-boyfriend.
He kicked her, and in doing so burnt her left forearm with her cigarette.
Prosecuting, Kerry Moore said; “That time was an accident but on further occasions he threatened her with lit cigarettes to scare her into doing what he wanted.”
That was the first incident in a string of assaults, including a kick to the stomach when she was pregnant.
During one attack, she feared for her life and shouted from a window, which led to the police attending.
But Wang fell to his knees and begged her for mercy, so she agreed to tell police it had been a verbal attack.
Wang also banned her from using her Wechat account, and set up a new one which allowed him to control who she contacted.
After she became pregnant, she left Wang and found her own accommodation.
But in September, the pair moved together to Ship Street in Brighton.
There, the assaults continued, sometimes in front of her friends.
It was on 26 November that he strangled her after discovering she had used her old Wechat account.
He was interrupted by a food delivery, which allowed her to call her father, her friend and finally the police.
Mr Moore read out a small part of her witness statement, in which she said: “I thought I was going to die.
“Even if he’s charged he will track me down. He will harm me and not forgive me for coming to the police.”
Wang was arrested that day, charged the following day and appeared at Brighton Magistrates Court on 28 November, where he pleaded not guilty to coercive control from 1 April to 26 November 2018, and assaulting the victim on 26 November..
He was remanded into custody, and since then has been at Lewes Prison.
However, he changed his plea to the first charge to guilty at his first appearance at Lewes Crown Court. The second charge was not proceeded with.
Mitigating, Dominic Benthall said: “Prison has brought home to him the effect of his actions, how wrong they were and how seriously they are taken by this court.
“He asks me to express on his behalf his apology to her and his sense of remorse and regret.”
Today, Wang’s mother and father were in court to hear the sentence. Mr Benthall said they had flown from China after he was first charged and had been in the UK to support him since.
He also said that Wang believed his course, for which he has paid £19,000, was still open to him.
His victim has returned to China, but is hoping to return to the UK to pick up her studies later this year.
As part of the suspended sentence, Wang has to attend 20 rehabilitation days and carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
Judge Arnold also passed a five-year restraining order prohibiting him from contacting, pestering, intimidating, threatening or using violence against the victim or members of her family or instructing any other person to do so.