Woman saved by code words 'pet hamster' after boyfriend trapped her and threatened to kill her

Kane Kirkham subjected the woman to Credit: MEN Media

A woman used secret code words to warn her family she was in danger, after her partner trapped her under a mattress and threatened to kill her.

Preston Crown Court heard that 21-year-old Kane Kirkham subjected the woman to a campaign of terror and abuse throughout their three-year relationship.

It led to the mother devising code words 'pet hamster' to warn her family and ask for help.

She ended up texting the code words to her family on 9 March, when Kirkham attacked her after she asked him to keep his voice down so as not to wake their sleeping baby.

He trapped the woman underneath a mattress, and stuffed a blanket in her mouth. He told her: "This is the end of you. I'm going to kill you."

The woman was picked up from the house by her family, who called the police.

Kirkham escaped from police officers at Royal Preston Hospital.

When officers arrived Kirkham claimed he had taken a large number of tablets. He was taken to Royal Preston Hospital in handcuffs but he ran away from A&E when he asked to use the toilet.He was found when he turned up at a relative's house and they called the police, who took him back into custody.

Kirkham, of Charles Crescent in Higher Walton, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, controlling and coercive behaviour, and escape from lawful custody.

He was jailed for three years and two months at Preston Crown Court.Ms Forsythe, prosecuting, said during their relationship Kirkham threatened to kill his partner and on one occasion, held a lighter to the boiler, threatening to kill them all.

Foster was sentenced in his absence at Preston Crown Court. Credit: MEN Media

He forced the woman to sit on the kitchen floor as punishment and ordered her to sleep in the dog's bed, the court heard. In a victim impact statement, the woman said her mental health had worsened and she suffers with nightmares and panic attacks. 

She said: "During my relationship I got used to being told off. I am still worried about getting anything wrong and I am scared of the consequences."If my son cries for more than a few minutes I get anxious. I can hear Kane telling me I am a terrible mother and social services will have him taken away from me."Beverley Hackett, mitigating, said Kirkham has used his time on remand to engage with education and free himself of drugs. 

Ms Hackett said: "He wants to convey his apologies to the complainant."Kirkham read a letter to the court, saying: "I accept full responsibility for my actions and accept any consequences or punishment. I am ready to better myself as a person."I have realised my crimes are completely unacceptable and I should be held accountable. Since coming to prison I have realised my lifestyle and the bad decisions I have been making. I don't want to continue."I am only young and have got a lot ahead of me. Coming to jail has jeopardised my relationship with my son."I would like to apologise to my victim and her family for the tears and pain I have inflicted on her."

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