Brute stabbed and strangled Kettering victim in horrific domestic violence

He's been given an extended prison sentence

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 7:45 am
Mark Cullen.

A thug who treated his partner as a punchbag was caught after a Kettering security guard put him in a headlock when she escaped from his clutches.

Mark Cullen had smashed his partner's head against a wall, strangled her and stabbed her with a screwdriver in a day of horrifying domestic abuse when he drove her to the Tesco Esso Express in Windmill Avenue.

But his victim got out of car and ran into the store, where a security worker came to her aid before police arrived and arrested Cullen.

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Yesterday (Monday) at Northampton Crown Court a judge deemed the 38-year-old dangerous and handed him more than four years in prison.

Cullen had been in a relationship with his victim for several years and had been violent in the past before the partnership ended about four years ago. The court heard that, despite their history, she felt they had a connection and they started seeing each other again in August 2020.

But on December 3 the thug, formerly of Dunstable, returned to his violent ways after they had been visited by a police officer at her Kettering home.

Prosecuting, Anwar Nashashibi said the victim was punched and had her head smashed on the wall and sink before Cullen strangled her.

He said: "She said she could not breathe.

"She was fading in and out of consciousness."

Cullen - who has convictions for 116 offences including previous domestic assaults against her - threatened her with a screwdriver which was held to her throat before he stabbed her in the thigh with the tool.

And he forcefully kicked her in the crotch before telling her: "You will never have kids again, I will ruin you."

Mr Nashashibi added that Cullen had said she was "his property".

The victim was left with horrific bruises to her eyes, neck, fingers and legs and a puncture wound to her thigh before being dragged to the petrol station in Cullen's green Volkswagen with another man, who was not named in court.

But there, at about 11.30pm, the victim got out of the car and ran into the store shouting: "He's trying to kill me."

A security guard saw her in obvious distress and intervened. Cullen was on her tail, trying to pick her up and take her out of the store.

But the store worker came to her aid and put the thug in a headlock before ejecting him and waiting until police arrived to arrest him.

There she disclosed his serious violence, which he denied when questioned and claimed the injuries were self-inflicted. He later admitted three charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

His victim was at court yesterday to watch her former partner be sentenced and Mr Nashashibi read out a victim impact statement on her behalf.

In it she said she feels he was "sadistic" to her and that she still suffers flashbacks.

Mr Nashashibi said: "She feels it's impossible to be safe."

She now has a new partner and a new life and told the court: "I know what love is now."

And she used her statement to tell Cullen: "Get help before it's too late."

Cullen, who appeared over videolink from HMP Peterborough, shook his head throughout proceedings.

He also faced sentencing for an incident in 2018 in St Neots where he shunted another car after a parking row before setting his dog on a resident who challenged him.

Mitigating, Kaja Reiff-Musgrove said Cullen deserved credit for his guilty plea and had spent 297 days in prison on remand in 'onerous conditions' because of the Covid pandemic.

She added that he has used his time in custody to complete courses about alcohol and drugs and is now an enhanced prisoner.

Sentencing, His Honour Judge David Herbert QC said Cullen had showed no empathy and had subjected his victim to a catalogue of bruises.

He deemed Cullen dangerous and said it was necessary to impose an extended sentence to protect the public.

Judge Herbert told him: "You have subjected her to domestic violence for a number of years, as your previous convictions show...treating her at times routinely as a punchbag."

Cullen was jailed for four years with an additional year on licence for the domestic violence. He was handed an additional nine months for the St Neots incident.

An indefinite restraining order was imposed banning Cullen from contacting his victim or her new partner.