An Illawarra woman who was subjected to persistent, horrific domestic violence, which didn't end even when her perpetrator was thrown into jail, feared he would eventually take her life.
"He previously said he would murder me ... he said he would put me in a body bag," she told police last year.
"I know I needed to leave before I ended up in one."
Repeat offender Blake Cleaver, aged 26 of Mount Warrigal, was sentenced for his series of vile acts at Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday.
Tendered court documents state the woman was driving Cleaver around Berkeley on June 22, 2022, when he demanded her to take him to Unanderra or Warilla.
When she refused, Cleaver became irate and said "I should punch you in the face". He followed through on this threat, causing the woman's lip to bleed.
Cleaver got out of the car when the woman drove to a service station and walked off. Police attended the victim's home the following day and saw her black eye and swelling to her face.
Cleaver was with the woman again, at her home in defiance of an apprehended violence order, when he slapped her in the early hours of July 10, 2022.
He asked for a list of people she has slept with, with an argument ensuing for the next six hours, before he kicked her in the head.
The woman put it to Cleaver on July 12 that they should split, prompting him to stand over her and threaten "the only way you are going to leave is in a body bag".
He unleashed a vicious physical assault, causing the woman "immediate agonising pain", court documents state. When Cleaver left the house soon after, the woman packed her belongings and fled.
She provided a statement to police and forwarded a message from Cleaver that contained the threat: "I'm coming out (to your suburb) if you ain't there I'm burning ya house down".
Cleaver continued to breach the AVO when he was locked up by calling the victim 109 times from jail between July 30 and November 7, 2022 - with some conversations containing accusations she lied to him him.
The calls were all recorded and reviewed by the Southern Region Domestic Violence High Risk Offenders squad.
Cleaver pleaded guilty to 20 counts of contravening an apprehended violence order, two counts of common assault, and one count each of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, intimidation and intentionally choke a person without consent.
Defence lawyer Cameron Meaney confirmed the relationship between the pair was now over, as he conceded full-time prison was the only acceptable punishment option for his client.
"He won't be seeking out the victim any further," Mr Meaney said.
Cleaver also pleaded guilty to aggravated break and enter in company with intent to steal, stemming from an early morning incident at a Minnamurra home in May 2022, where himself and others attempted to steal several bikes.
The group was caught in the act by the terrified occupants and fled the scene.
Magistrate Darryl Pearce sentenced Cleaver to three years jail, with a non-parole period of two years.
With 363 days spent behind bars, Cleaver will become eligible for release in October 2024.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence contact the national sexual assault, domestic violence counselling service 24-hour helpline 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
Read more Illawarra court and crime stories here.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.