May 2022

Nasty Preston thug threatened to kill girlfriend as his jealousy made her life hell

A man left his girlfriend struggling to hear for days in the first of a series of attacks against her.

Dean Harper, 33, also pinned the woman against a wall and tried to trap her in their home as his jealousy and obsessiveness made her life hell.

Harper convinced her to stay after the first attack but slipped back into heavy drink and violence which was uncovered when she accidentally called a friend during an argument and they heard her begging him to leave.

At the same time, a neighbour heard him threatening to kill her if he was made to leave their home.

Prosecuting, Beth Pilling told Burnley Crown Court that Harper offered to let the woman move in to his Preston home when she left another relationship and that the pair started as friends but eventually became more intimate.

He knew the woman had suffered trauma in her past and at first the relationship was a happy one.

But his jealousy soon took hold and Harper would stop her from having male friends and regularly searched her phone for information which he would use to confront her on later occasions. In 2021, the couple went to a barbecue and when they returned, Harper started to berate the woman for apparently flirting with other men there.

Although this accusation was nothing new, the argument continued for some time as he followed her around the house until she asked him to leave. Ms Pilling said: “What was new was he threw a punch at her face, it hit her with a clenched fist direct to the ear.”

The punch landed with such force that it threw the woman’s glasses to the floor and Harper initially seemed stunned before saying he had barely touched her. He continued shouting at the woman and refused to let her leave and at one stage ripped keys out her hands, breaking multiple nails and causing her fingers to bleed.

He eventually went to sleep after throwing her keys in the loft but she managed to leave during the night and stay with a family member. The following morning, she planned to leave him for good but he convinced her he would stop drinking and that would be the end of the problems.