Published: 14:48, 01 May 2019
| Updated: 16:09, 01 May 2019
A convicted domestic abuser pulled his pregnant girlfriend's eyelids back in a shocking assault before imprisoning her to hide her injuries, a court heard.
Danny Bridges, 35, who has attacked three previous partners, is alleged to have strangled and gouged his victim's eyes before locking her in his flat.
She initially told police Bridges delivered blinding blows and stuck his finger in her eye after becoming angry over a Facebook post.
He then allegedly imprisoned her on the morning of November 2 to stop people seeing her black eyes.
The allegations only came to light when armed police broke down his door after she sent a text to a friend.
But she told Canterbury Crown Court today her facial and body bruising was caused by falling down stairs and face first into a toilet.
She claimed she then got several other bruises during sex with Bridges, prompting a startling exchange with a judge.
Judge Rupert Lowe said: “So after you fell down the stairs and injured your back, you went to bed, got up, tripped over a table, then tripped over a rug and hit your face against the toilet seat causing a pretty nasty injury.
“Then you were sick, got back into bed, and then had sexual intercourse?”
She replied: “Yes.”
She also claimed police pressured her into giving a statement after the alleged attacks between April and November.
The court heard Bridges caused bruising after punching his victim’s shin in April before the violence escalated in November.
“So after you fell down the stairs and injured your back, you went to bed, got up, tripped over a table, then tripped over a rug and hit your face against the toilet seat causing a pretty nasty injury. Then you were sick, got back into bed, and then had sexual intercourse?..” - Judge Rupert Lowe
Reading her original police statement, prosecutor Patrick Dennis said: “Daniel decided to see my phone and I knew I had to give it to him otherwise it will make him angry.”
It added Bridges ordered her upstairs and kneed her in the back as she passed.
“I was told to go in the bedroom and that is when it started.
“He was shouting at me and telling me off for liking other people’s Facebook posts.”
Mr Dennis added Bridges delivered blinding punches and threatened to harm her unborn child.
“With every punch I remember seeing white flashes in my eyes - he managed to stick his fingers in my eyes by this point.
“He somehow managed to peel the eyelids back and it turned inside out.
“It hurt so much I thought I was going to be sick, I thought my eye was going to pop out.
“He then told me he was going to kick the baby out of me.”
The court heard Bridges then inprisoned his girlfriend in his flat in Station Road, Whitstable, between October 31 and November 2 to prevent people seeing her black eyes.
However she managed to text a friend alerting them to call the police who began to bash down the door.
PC Daniel Regan told Judge Rupert Lowe officers tried gaining entry for 45 minutes before firearm officers arrived and struck the door with a ram.
The court heard Bridges answered after the first strike and was arrested by PC Proctor.
The victim was found in the bedroom with bruising over her face and body but reluctant to give a statement.
PC Regan said: “She was somewhat reluctant but that is not uncommon with victims of domestic violence.
“She was clearly scared, that much was obvious.”
The victim, who has been regularly visiting Bridges in jail, said police pressured her into giving a statement and only alerted the force to Bridge’s address to “get him in trouble for something else.”
She added injuries to her back and face were caused after falling down the stairs and face-first onto Bridge’s toilet while suffering morning sickness.
“The bruising on my arms and legs and the red mark on my neck were caused during sexual intercourse,” she said.
Mr Dennis said the victim is protecting Bridges, the mother of his child, and the pair drummed up the story during prison visits.
She told police Bridges was innocent on April 24 but the Crown Prosecution Service proceeded with the trial, the court heard.
Bridges, represented by Gregory Fishwick, is accused of false imprisonment and two counts of causing actual bodily harm.
He pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis at a previous hearing.
The jury heard Bridges knocked his sister unconscious and assaulted his mum in 2002, and struck another partner 10 years later.
In 2013 he hit another girlfriend before starting a relationship with a teenager.
The court heard in 2017 he put a pillow over her face and forced a spanner into her ribs.
She was punched after forgetting to book football tickets.
Bridges protested his innocence under cross-examination claiming his victim is “accident prone.”
“If I lost my temper and punched her the bruises would look worse,” he told the jury.
Mr Fishwick asked: “What happened on October 23?”
“She fell down the stairs,” Bridges replied.
“She tripped over my chair, I don’t have a bedside table, then I heard her say ‘I banged my head on the toilet.’ “
The bricklayer told Judge Lowe police coerced the victim into making a statement “to make me look like an animal.”
Mr Dennis’s told Bridges: “You are a violent individual aren’t you.
“During an argument you lose your temper and lash out at partners.”
He replied: “No I have done courses and stuff.
“I don’t act like that anymore.”
The trial continues.