A “cold and calculative bully” who terrorised multiple girlfriends and left one of them half-blind has been sentenced to almost a decade behind bars.
Jay Barrett, 32, carried out a campaign of violence over the course of three years, leaving women with disfigurements, wrecked homes and fearing for their own lives.
One partner had only been dating Barrett for less than a month when he carried out an attack that “ruined her life” and blinded her in one eye.
Prosecutor Kieren Brand said the violent episode, which took place in Margate on New Year’s Eve 2019, arose after Barrett found out his girlfriend had smoked a cigarette.
In reaction, Barrett threw a large Panasonic remote at her right eye, causing blood to “squirt everywhere”.
She was immediately in great pain, and told Barrett to call an ambulance.
But instead of doing that, the court heard Barrett went to the kitchen to get a knife and said something along the lines of “I need to finish you now”.
The barrister told Canterbury Crown Court on Friday that the criminal’s behaviour then instantly changed - that he called an ambulance, carried her down the stairs and acted as if nothing had happened.
His victim was taken to the QEQM hospital in Margate before being rushed to the William Harvey in Ashford for emergency surgery.
The incident left her blind in her right eye and she suffered a ruptured globe, a detached retina, a split lens and a fractured cheekbone.
But despite the attack, the relationship continued and just seven weeks later Barrett once again exploded in rage.
On the morning of February 19, the couple were in the living room of the same address in Margate when the thug began shouting at his partner.
Mr Brand told the court that Barrett then grabbed her, putting his hands around her neck and pinning her to the sofa.
Despite the woman’s pleas for him to stop, he continued to punch and kick her before pulling out a flick knife and threatening to dig out her other eye and stab her in the face.
Scared for her life, she found the courage two days later to tell her sister about the abuse she had suffered.
But when Barrett was arrested, he told officers his girlfriend was lying and that the injuries were from him and his partner practising Muay Thai together.
He claimed she had smacked her head into a wall, injuring her eye on a protruding nail.
Barrett’s aggression continued with a subsequent partner, with whom the criminal had been involved on an on-off basis between 2015 and 2021.
Mr Brand told the court that on April 5, 2021 - freshly released from police custody for a separate offence - the criminal went to the house where she lived.
When she answered the door, Barrett immediately began ranting about why he had been arrested before proceeding to destroy furniture and appliances in the home.
The prosecutor told the court Barrett slashed up the couch cushions with a Rambo knife before ripping the door off the washing machine.
He then went to the woman’s bedroom, lifted the mattress off the bed and stamped down on the slats of the bed until they were all broken.
He then replaced the mattress and annihilated it completely, slashing it with the knife and pulling out all of the stuffing until all that was left were the springs.
The court heard that in November the same year, following a disagreement involving a glass of tropical juice, the thug hit the woman with the butt of a knife, slapped and punched her, struck her with exercise equipment and repeatedly threw PlayStation controllers at her.
The abuse left his victim with various cuts and bruises, and the following month she sustained a black eye and was kicked unconscious after Barrett rained down more blows on her.
“He has admitted to trying to cut off his hand with a meat cleaver - there is evidence of an active mental health condition...”
While the defendant was in police custody for the November and December assaults, as well as possessing cannabis, the woman and her mum left their home address and went to stay elsewhere.
Despite the fact Barrett’s police bail conditions included a prohibition on contacting them, his ex-girlfriend received video messages on Instagram from the bully in which he threatened to kill them and burn their house down.
Having been convicted of raping a girl under 16 in 2012, Barrett was under an obligation to annually visit a police station to reconfirm his details.
But failing to do so in January 2022 resulted in a separate charge for breaching notification requirements.
This brought the total number of offences for which Barrett was due to be sentenced to 15, including inflicting grievous bodily harm, three counts of assault inflicting actual bodily harm, assault by beating, five counts of property damage, two counts of making threats to kill, burglary, failing to comply with notification requirements and possession of drugs.
He pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to all of the crimes except inflicting grievous bodily harm and beating, which he denied.
However, he changed his pleas and admitted both offences at the beginning of the subsequent trial.
Mitigating, Barrett’s barrister, Ms Edwards, emphasised that he had experienced a difficult upbringing and suffered from serious mental health problems.
“The defendant had a pretty unpleasant childhood; he was not only beaten, but was also told that his mental health was not something that should be spoken about,” he said.
“He has admitted to trying to cut off his hand with a meat cleaver - there is evidence of an active mental health condition.
The lawyer also sought to play down the seriousness of the incident that left one of his former partners half-blind.
“It was one fleeting action,” he said. “I realise that the lasting impact is very nasty, but in my admission, it was a single throw.
“There’s no evidence that it was planned in any way - it was fleeting and spontaneous.”
Ms Edwards went on to report that while Barrett has been incarcerated for the past year and 10 months, he has engaged with the mental health team, and prison staff have commented on his positive behaviour.
But handing down his sentence, Mark Weeks said the thug’s history of violence could not be blamed on his mental health problems.
“You were a cold, calculative and violent bully,” said Judge Weeks.
“You have a pattern of violent and coercive behaviour towards your partners which cannot be attributed to your mania.”
“When she looks in the mirror she appears to be a completely different person inside and out; she is terrified and remains in pain...”
In his closing remarks the judge also referenced the victim impact statement of the former partner who been half-blinded.
“She says you have ruined her life,” he said.
“Due to the injury to her eye she struggles to walk, keep her balance, she can’t drive and she struggles with things that other people take for granted.
“When she looks in the mirror she appears to be a completely different person inside and out; she is terrified and remains in pain.”
Barrett was jailed for nine years and six months, with an extended licence period of five years.
The defendant looked perplexed and frustrated when sentenced, his jaw dropping when the total number of years he will spend behind bars was announced.
“You pose a serious risk to women in the community and I do consider it necessary to impose an extended sentence,” the judge said.
Though there were no orders for costs or compensation, there will be a restraining order for no contact direct or indirect with his victims, which will be without limited time.