An "unhinged" man has been jailed for 14 months after killing his girlfriend's cat in an "explosion of cruel violence" before waking her up and also assaulting her.
Lawrence Santos, of Bourne Terrace, Maida Vale , admitted attacking the pet and his then girlfriend Rebecca Springer on August 13 2017.
Santos, aged 24, had woken her at midnight complaining that the cat had become unresponsive after he tried to bathe it, a court heard.
Miss Springer however saw her cat Mimi was bleeding from a head wound and a veterinary pathologist later found "signs that the cat had suffered numerous serious injuries" as well as there being "signs of the cat having been submerged in water".
The five-month-old kitten had been "brutally and persistently assaulted" and it appeared "an attempt had been made to drown it", prosecutor Anthony Heaton-Armstrong said at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday (January 23).
"There were signs of injury to the defendant consistent with the cat having fought back, because he had injuries to his hands showing that he had been scratched by it quite severely," he added.
The court was told Santos pinned 25-year-old Miss Springer onto her bed and held both her arms down as he slapped her face and challenged her to hit him back, as he rained down blows and put his hands on her face in such a way that she thought he "was going to strangle her".
Miss Springer managed to escape from her flat into Alfred Road, Maida Vale , wearing just a dressing gown, but Santos grabbed the cord of the gown and pulled her back, causing cuts to her knees and feet.
Worried neighbours called for an ambulance and Miss Springer was taken to St Thomas' Hospital for treatment to various cuts and bruises to her head, neck, face, arms, legs and feet as well as a ruptured ear drum.
"The incident was terrifying. I thought I was going to die," said Miss Springer.
"I am distraught that he hurt Mimi and that now she is not here anymore. I loved her so much and I really miss her."
The judge, Mr Recorder Edward Brown QC, blasted Santos for the "disgraceful and prolonged violence towards Ms Springer in her own home".
"She should have expected to be safe in her own home and what thereafter transpired was anything but.
"'You have put forward no explanation and I can only therefore work on the basis that this was an explosion of cruel violence upon a defenceless cat which was new to the household."
Santos was handed a 10-month prison sentence for two counts of assault by beating on Miss Springer and a further four months for a criminal damage charge related to destroying the cat, as well as a concurrent two-week sentence for destroying the victim's iPhone.
He was also given a five-year restraining order against Miss Springer.
Detective Constable Isabella Grotto, investigating officer from Met Police's Westminster Community Support Unit, said: "Santos is a dangerous individual who killed a defenceless animal before viciously attacking his girlfriend.
"I’d like to praise the victim’s incredibly bravery for both escaping from Santos on the evening and for assisting police throughout the investigation.
"I’d also like to praise the bystanders on the evening who rushed to the victim’s aid and called the police."
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