Man dubbed ‘punching machine’ jailed after brutal attack on woman in Halifax

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A Halifax man described as a ‘punching machine’ has been jailed for inflicting grievous bodily harm on a woman who died at his home.

Marie Johnston, 43, had been staying at the home of Matthew Dean, 34, on Soaper Lane, in Shelf, when he subjected her to repeated assaults, which included violently twisting her neck and head, Bradford Crown Court heard today.

The court heard that Dean called 999 when he found Miss Johnston cold to the touch on April 2 this year.

She was found with more than 86 visible injuries, including 25 to the head, face or neck, a laceration of the liver caused by blunt force trauma, and a broken posterior rib.

Jailing Dean for seven and a half years, Judge Jonathan Rose said: “I must make it clear, I am not sentencing you for causing or contributing to her death. I am sentencing you for the grievous bodily harm you inflicted on her.

“What you did was use significant and quite brutal violence towards Miss Johnson.

“It was without a shadow of a doubt sustained and repeated.

“She will have endured significant suffering in the hours before her death.

“Within the evidence is a statement that Miss Johnston had referred to you as ‘Matthew Dean – the punching machine’.

“You pose a risk to members of the community and especially any partners you might have. I have concluded that the risk you pose is real, significant and high.

“Your inability to explain the escalation in the violence had led me to conclude that you are a dangerous man.”

Ray Singh, mitigating, said Ms Johnston and Dean were in an on-off six-year relationship, which was volatile and often involved violence.

“He could not live with her and he could not live without her,” he said.

Mr Singh told the court that Dean had expressed remorse and was also “grieving” for Miss Johnston.

Judge Rose said he was under the influence of alcohol and the drug spice at the time of the assaults.

Dean, 34, pleaded guilty last month to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent in August.

The cause of Miss Johnston’s death could not be determined.

After serving his sentence Dean will remain on licence for a further three years.