A sentence for controlling and coercive behaviour has been increased for the first time, after a scheme which was updated last year allowed sentences for domestic abuse to be reviewed.

Joshua Dalgarno had been regularly violent towards his girlfriend, which included him stabbing her in the leg with a pen knife, trying to pull a drip out of her arm while she was ill in hospital and smashing her head against a windscreen.

His girlfriend had been pregnant during some of the abuse she endured, but later lost the baby.

Dalgarno was initially given a 24-month community order at Taunton crown court in December, after being charged with controlling and coercive behaviour towards his former partner, taking a conveyance without authority and causing criminal damage.

This was not the first time the defendant had been in court. Dalgarno had several convictions dating as far back as 2009, which included four convictions for violence against previous partners.

He had also been arrested several times for domestic abuse incidents relating to his current victim.

After his second arrest for abuse towards the victim, he was released on  bail conditions, which stipulated that he could not contact his girlfriend. Dalgarno ignored the stipulation, stole her car, drove to her sister’s house and tried to break down the door.

Concerned by the light sentence Dalgarno was given, the solicitor general, Michael Ellis QC, brought the review of the case under the Unduly Lenient Scheme.

The scheme gives prosecutors, victims of crime, their family, and the public, the power to challenge sentences for offences included in the scheme.

Individuals can ask the Attorney General for a review of certain sentences they believe are too low.

Following on from the Attorney General’s submission to the court of appeal yesterday, Dalgarno was given a custodial sentence of 3 years’ imprisonment.

Responding to the increased sentence, Ellis said, “This is the first of its type and it’s particularly important to send a message that this type behaviour, which was graphic, which was prolonged, which was pernicious, must be met with appropriate criminal sanction.”

“It’s a matter of public policy that this type of appalling domestic abuse, including violence, should be met with a sentence that the general public would expect, namely one of imprisonment, and I’m pleased the court of appeal has increased the sentence accordingly,” he added.

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