Somerset woman, 25, feared her boyfriend would kill her during violent attack

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A Somerset woman who feared for her life as her boyfriend beat her inside her parents' home has spoken out as a warning to others.

Zhanet Georgieva said she thought her now ex-partner Joshua James was going to kill her during an attack at the property in Fivehead, near Taunton, in February last year.

The 25-year-old suffered a fractured nose, facial lacerations, black eyes and other injuries.

James was sentenced to 10 months in prison at Taunton Crown Court on January 7 after admitting causing actual bodily harm (ABH) and criminal damage in relation to the house.

Joshua James has been given a 10-month sentence for the attack. Credit: BPM Media

Now Zhanet said she met James on the dating app Tinder and never suspected what he was capable of because he "painted himself to be this amazing boyfriend".

The couple were together for four months and after an argument with his mum, James started staying with Zhanet at her parents' home.

On February 21, when her parents were on holiday, the couple had friends over for dinner and the evening ended with James violently assaulting Zhanet.

Zhanet said James "painted himself to be this amazing boyfriend" in the early stages of their relationship.

She said James became so drunk he began to lash out at her verbally and when she tried to calm him down his abuse turned physical.

"We got into an argument because I told him to calm down", she said.

"I went to hug him because I hadn't seen him like that before. Instead of him apologising... he grabbed my head and hit it against the wall."

She said she was in "total shock" and ran outside to her car. When she returned, James had locked her out.

Ms Georgieva said James destroyed the contents of the house during the attack. Credit: BPM Media

"I was knocking, trying to calm him down by calling to him. I looked through the post slot and was trying to get him to calm down, but he just started throwing things at the door - knives, glasses, plates, everything", she said.

James eventually let her into the wreckage of the house, but then assaulted her further.

She said: "He fractured my nose, and my whole face was swollen, I had two black eyes, he hit the side of my head, my ribs, everything.

"I tried to grab my work phone to call someone but he smashed it and my other phone. He kept on punching me the whole time.

"I thought he was either going to kill me in the street or kill me inside, so I went into fight or flight mode", she said.

"I just did exactly what he said, so he didn't do any more damage."

She added: "I saw my own face and was so shocked by the sight of me with blood and bruises everywhere.

"He said if anybody asks, just say it was a food fight".

Zhanet said James smashed plates and glasses in her family home during the assault.

Neighbours called police who arrested James.

"The neighbours had heard everything and apparently it sounded like a sledgehammer when he was hitting me and breaking things," she said.

Reflecting on her relationship with James, Zhanet says only now she can see there were signs of emotional abuse.

"It kind of became a bit of an addiction. You think 'oh okay, he'll be mean to me today but maybe tomorrow he'll be nice and we'll forget about it and move on.

"I've come to realise that there's so many people who go through emotional abuse and you don't know until you're out of it.

"I think there's a stigma - when you've been in a relationship there's something's wrong with you, but there isn't. It's just the perpetrator's, it's their choice to hurt you."

In addition to the prison sentence, James was also given a restraining order to stop him contacting Zhanet or going to her home. He was also ordered to pay £156 in court costs.


Where victims of domestic abuse can get help

If you are in immediate danger, please call 999.