Edinburgh domestic abuse survivor's 'horror' as tormentor seeks prison release
The victim of one of Scotland’s worst serial domestic abusers has pleaded for the appeal court not to set her tormentor free.
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Joanne Flanagan bravely spoke out after seeing former partner David MacDonald handed one of he longest sheriff court sentences in recent years after he was convicted on 15 charges.
Brute MacDonald, 38, was jailed for four-and-a-half years and slapped with a 15 year non-harassment order by Sheriff Daniel Kelly last month
But the aero engineer, from Dalkeith, Midlothian, has formally applied to appeal against both his conviction and sentence following the case at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
After receiving an official notification of his intent to appeal, Joanne said: “I cannot believe they’d ever let him go. The thought of that man back on the streets terrifies me. I hope the appeal court realises just how dangerous he is.”
Student Joanne, 28, suffered years of horror at his hands which has left her physically and mentally scarred for life.
In a victim impact statement, Sheriff Kelly was told that she had been left suffering ‘anxiety, PTSD, depression, flashbacks, insomnia, body dysmorphia, paranoia and an impending sense of doom’ after falling prey to twisted MacDonald – who she said is a ‘self-obsessed manipulator’.
Her ordeal included being run over by him in his Audi, a string of assaults, being forced to clear broken glass with her bare hands and having to eat a mouse nest.
MacDonald’s car attack left Joanne, of East Lothian, permanently scarred. She also has scars from being pushed through a window.
The scheming monster also took out loans and credit cards in her name and hid his true earnings, while ordering her to dress down when not in his company but to always wear high heels an a dress when they were together. As well as controlling behaviour and violent assaults, MacDonald, who had denied the allegations, also stole from Joanne and pawned her grandmother’s jewellery.
He first assaulted her in his car, leading to years of abuse until she fled to a Women’s Aid shelter.She spent more than two days in the witness box reliving her ordeal at MacDonald’s hands while he spent one day denying any wrongdoing but was found guilty. Sheriff Kelly’s sentence is six months short of the term required for MacDonald to have been sent to the high court for a harsher punishment.
In her victim impact statement, read out at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Joanne revealed he once attacked her and split open a recently stitched wound: “David assaulted me again, which esulted in the stitches opening. Now the scar is so unsightly and makes me so self-conscious.
“I has multiple absences because he had injured me and lost my dream job because he ran me over.
"What David put me through over the years still consumes me to this day. He controlled every aspect of me and my life and would subject me to cruel, sadistic punishment if I did something he deemed ‘punishable’.
"He was violent beyond anything I’d seen as an adult. He opted for objects and weapons that have left me scarred for life. I will never fully recover from my injuries. I will forever have metalwork in my body and ugly scarring and serious mental health issues all because David saw I was an easy target and and let his own psychopathy destroy the person I was. All of these horrific things keep me awake at night with flashbacks and I’m too afraid to go outside.
“He is not an explosive, violent drunk or a hot-headed bully and will not consume alcohol or drugs. He speaks well. He is smart and adapts to how he thinks people want him to appear to be. I came forward and told all the horrifying truths to prevent David from torturing other women.”
Among the charges MacDonald was found guilty of was assaulting Joanne to her permanent impairment by hitting her with his Audi. He was also convicted of assault and causing permanent disfigurement, throwing her through a window and gashing her arm open. Merciless MacDonald then assaulted her again, ripping the stitched wound open.
He also forced her to eat a mouse nest discovered in their home because he believed Joanne had left crumbs in a chest of drawers from secret snacks.
Joanne said: “All of the physical scars David inflicted upon me have greatly impacted my confidence and the way I see myself and how I live my life on a daily basis.”
Revealing the effect of the car attack by MacDonald, she told the court: “I was a healthy 10 stone when I began my relationship with David in June 2017. By the time he’d run me over and I’d recovered, , I was seven stone.”
Speaking about his manipulating personality, Joanne said: “David quite literally broke me apart piece by piece due to his horrendous torment and abuse.
"From the beginning David isolated me from my family and friends. He controlled my finances so I couldn’t even buy deodorant or a pair of tights in an emergency while he took out a £5000 loan for a car and credit cards galore in my name.
"He shattered pieces of me that I know will never fit back together again.”
Concluding her victim impact statement, Joanne told Sheriff Kelly: “He is truly dangerous. He is a dangerous man who has caused so much damage.
"Please hold him accountable as severely as possible – don’t let him get off easily and embolden his arrogance and narcissism.”
Revealing her intention to try and block his appeal, she said: “I just want it to be over. He has never once apologised. He should serve his time. It does worry me that he could somehow con his way to freedom.
"It was a two week long trial and a very strong sentence, which he deserved. He needs to take his punishment and serve the time for what he did to me.”