A PUB manager has been jailed for two-and-a-half years after admitting a horrific attack on his girlfriend which included branding her with a hot kitchen fork.
Toby Clive Goater, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of actual bodily harm, one count of perverting the course of justice and one count of false imprisonment against a 39-year-old local woman.
Goater, who ran the Imperial Inn in Queens Road, admitted the offences on December 23 last year when he appeared before Hove Crown Court. He was remanded into custody until being sentenced on Monday.
The court heard how the victim, who was not named, had been seeing Goater for about a year.
She accused him of seeing a member of his staff on the night of the attack on June 13 last year.
Goater knocked her unconscious with a blow to the head leaving her concussed for around 60 minutes.
During this time he removed her clothes and heated a kitchen fork with a lighter and branded the inside of her thigh. He also burnt her with a cigarette and punched her. Although he removed her clothing she was not sexually assaulted.
The court was told the victim tried several times to contact police but was restrained by Goater. Eventually he went upstairs and she ran outside half naked and called the police.
Goater was arrested on June 14 at around 5am after he had subjected his victim to several hours of abuse in the lounge area of the Imperial pub, where he was then employed as the manager.
When arrested Goater initially denied the offences and tried to destroy vital CCTV from inside the pub which had recorded the sustained attack.
He tried to wipe the CCTV by formatting over it but detectives sent it off to a specialist company to recover the data. He was re-arrested in September for perverting the course of justice.
Speaking after sentencing, his victim said: “I am so glad that Sussex Police has secured a conviction against Toby Goater and that he will serve time behind bars.
“I don’t know if I will ever be able to get over what has happened to me. I bear both the physical and mental scars from my ordeal.”
As well as a custodial sentence Goater was given a restraining order, preventing him from making contact with both the victim and her daughter.
Detective constable Brett White, of Hastings Adult Protection Team, said: “Justice has been served. It is right that Goater who committed these crimes against a defenceless woman and, who I believe, is a danger to women, received a custodial sentence.
“The victim’s brave decision to report her ordeal to Sussex Police in the first instance, fully cooperate and stay with the investigation from start to finish has resulted in a positive outcome.
“I hope that this sends out the message that victims of domestic abuse are not alone and Sussex Police will support, investigate and seek to bring offenders to justice.
“I would like to thank the both the victim and her daughter and I really hope that the result will help them move on wih their lives.”
To learn how Sussex Police and partners can help victims of domestic abuse, visit www.sussex.police.uk/domestic-abuse