Warton abuse victim feared she would be stabbed by Blackpool man Connor MacDonald

A young woman who was forced to kneel in a field by her abusive partner, believing she would be stabbed by him, has shared her experience of domestic violence to reach out to other victims

Monday, 16th November 2020, 3:45 pm

Connor MacDonald, 23, of Shackleton Road, Freckleton, Preston, is starting a 12 month jail term after admitting assault and making threats to kill.

It is against a backdrop of a violent 18 month relationship in which victim Naomi Baxter, 22, was kicked, hit and spat at, and had her hair pulled.

Controlling MacDonald, from Blackpool, was caught on camera trashing her possessions, and text messages show how he intimidated her into giving him cash to buy drugs.

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Naomi Baxter, pictured with Connor MacDonald

Preston Crown Court heard on June 10, after a flurry of texts in which he had threatened to stab her family, MacDonald made her go into a field, tapping his waistband to indicate he had a weapon, and forced her to kneel with her back to him.

Miss Baxter, who had been too terrified to confide in family and friends about his abuse, revealed today that she had "felt sorry" for MacDonald at first, as he manipulated her with claims he was ill and needed her help.

Her frightening ordeal, which she says was a "rollercoaster" of emotions, has left her with symptoms of PTSD, and her family has had to have a new front door fitted.

Miss Baxter, from Warton, says: "It's hard because it's someone I was convinced loved me, and I loved them.

Miss Baxter's swollen eye

"But this isn't a secret anymore, this happened to me - it's my truth and my life.

"Less than three months in, the aggression and name calling started.

"The first time he hit me in the face in a full on attack was Valentine's Day 2020.

"Previous to that he kicked, pulled my hair and spat at me.

Victim was left bruised

"At one point his mum told me she'd gone in his room and my clothes were ripped up on the bed.

"He'd say: 'I need your help, I've done this because I'm sick', and I'd just think how dreadful it is to be sick as I'd had mental health issues myself.

"He made me move out of my family home and made me believe my mum was being aggressive and controlling towards me.

"I didn't want to leave him because he told me no-one would like me or want to be around me.

Naomi Baxter

"He knew I had body confidence and mental health issues and would use these on a daily basis to keep me low in mood and so I wouldn't feel I had the strength or power to leave.

"Sometimes, after he did things he'd hug me and say: 'You do know I don't mean any of it.'

"I want victims to know about these telltale signs which I didn't recognise.

"These perpetrators are liars and manipulate their victims, who have been made to feel there's no other option but to be with this person.

"Since I posted about it on social media other women have contacted me about their experiences of abuse - one even made a call to police the day she saw my post."

Prosecuting at Preston Crown Court, Francis McEntee said a review of texts between them on June 10 this year showed a "litany of abuse".

An argument arose over the defendant liking pictures of another young woman on Instagram and messaging her.

He said: " The manner in which the defendant referred to Miss Baxter is simply unacceptable.

"He asked her at one stage if she wanted a slap.

"As the exchange progressed the defendant started becoming vile and did start saying if she didn't buy him weed and apologise that he wouldn't speak to her."

Screenshots of the exchange show he threatened to "bury" her brother, adding: "I'm going to show you aggressive tonight" and "do you want any relatives left?"

Chillingly he added: "I've warned you time and again I'm going to turn your life upside down in the next few hours you forget about the people I know."

Evidence shows Miss Baxter desperately making payday loan applications to give him money, which were rejected.

MacDonald told her he needed to go to a nearby field to 'talk' and she became hysterical with fright when he told her to turn around and kneel.

In a victim statement she said: "I was petrified. I did think I was going to come to some serious harm. He said 'don't turn around' and I saw him smirk."

When she did dare to turn around he had his hand down the back of joggers where she thought the knife was, and she bravely stood up, telling him: "Please don't".

As she ran from the field he laughed and said: "You can go but if you do your whole family will die."

Two passers by helped her and police were alerted.

Even after his arrest, he breached his bail by sending her images of harming himself and song lyrics via Instagram.

The court heard MacDonald accepted the texts and threats made, but described them as "spur of the moment" and said a lot of his actions down to his depression and anxiety.* If you are affected by this story and need support, call Preston Domestic Violence Services on 01772 201601 or Fylde Coast Women's Aid on 01253 596699.

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