A MAN who was told during an argument with his on-and-off partner that he shared similar character traits with the eponymous character from Netflix TV series Dirty John - a manipulative and abusive conman - reacted by punching her in the head, choking her and driving her around while armed with a hammer, Newcastle District Court has heard.
Leslie Graham Hillhouse, now 44, was on Friday jailed for a maximum of three years, with a non-parole period of two years, making him eligible for release next week.
Hillhouse, of Bolton Point, had been charged with detaining a person with intent to obtain advantage and inflicting actual bodily harm and intentionally choking a person without consent over the horrific domestic violence episode.
But he pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and intimidation during Newcastle District Court's super callover last month and prosecutors agreed to withdraw the other charges.
According to court documents, Hillhouse and his then on-and-off partner had been communicating on the morning of March 22, 2019, and were discussing breaking up.
Hillhouse went over to her house at Hamilton East about 11am and the pair had began arguing when the victim told Hillhouse he "had character traits that were similar to a character in a Netflix show called Dirty John", Judge Roy Ellis said on Friday.
"[Hillhouse] seemed to have lost his temper and at that point he punched her in the forehead and she fell to the ground," Judge Ellis said.
The woman later told police she was unsure if she lost consciousness and was feeling dizzy and lightheaded when Hillhouse wrapped his hands around her throat while she was on the ground, causing her to struggle to breath. At some point Hillhouse also put his foot on her chest and neck area.
The woman suffered two black eyes, a possible broken nose, chipped teeth, bruises to her chest and a sore throat.
Crying and bleeding, the woman was told by Hillhouse to take a shower and clean herself up and she was coming to stay with him for a few days, according to an agreed statement of facts.
At that point he picked up a hammer and drove the woman to his house at Bolton Point. He was arrested four days later and has remained behind bars.
"In 1998, at 20 years of age, his first offences are two counts of malicious damage and contravening an AVO," Judge Ellis said of Hillhouse's criminal record. "And here we are 20 years later and he is still committing domestic violence. Yes, he has had himself a horrendous experience at the hands of domestic violence, while being raised as a boy, but rather than that turning him off the use of violence, it may have led him to a misunderstanding that that is the way men deal with problems."
Judge Ellis considered sentencing Hillhouse to time-served and releasing him on Friday, but structured the sentence so that he would serve another week so his parole could be appropriately organised to avoid the risk of Hillhouse re-offending.