A woman tortured by her abusive partner who forced her to eat a mouse nest and ran her over in his Audi told how she was scarred for life as it emerged he is challenging his jail sentence.
Joanne Flanagan, 28, suffered horrendous physical and mental abuse at the hands of David MacDonald, 38, who was sentenced to four and a half years last month.
Aeronautical engineer MacDonald pushed her through a window, forced her to pick up broken glass with her bare hands and tore open stitches on wounds he had caused, and ran her over leaving her with metalwork in her body and extensive scarring.
MacDonald inflicted such extreme violence on Ms Flanagan it left her with anxiety, PTSD, depression, flashbacks, insomnia, body dysmorphia, paranoia and a “impending sense of doom”.
Ms Flanagan had known him since 2013 when he was married to one of her friends, and started dating him three years later after the marriage ended and he moved into her spare room.
She now believes he is a psychopath who preyed on her having known the trauma she experienced as a child in the care system, and has spoken out to protect other women.
The student believes he should be in a psychiatric hospital rather than a prison and fears retribution when MacDonald is released after serving time for 14 charges of domestic abuse which he denied during a two-week trial.
Ms Flanagan said: “All I seem to read about domestic abuse is drunk men in court for lashing out but it’s not always a chav with anger issues, it’s a posh, professional, family man who plans out his attacks with pre-planned cover stories to tell NHS staff.
“He is a true danger because he is able to hide his true self. He isn’t just a domestic abuser, he’s a psychopath.
“He would never drink alcohol or touch drugs.
“He told the jury he was on his 37th Audi – even when he put an ad on Gumtree when he must have been selling the car preparing to go to prison he put ‘this is my 37th Audi’, I think it was a prestige to him.
“When I first went to police I told them he boiled my sister’s goldfish and they said ‘is he cruel to animals?’
“I only came off painkillers last month from injuries from when he ran me over in 2017.
“The police knew about other things but there was no corroboration, one time an officer told me ‘it’s 2018 women have rights’ and David punished me for it afterwards – that person could have taken me aside to talk.”
During the relationship from June 2016 until November 2018, MacDonald controlled every aspect of Joanne’s life, including her finances and how she dressed.
A jury convicted him of six charges of assault, six charges of assault to injury, one charge of assault to severe injury, one charge of assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement, and one charge of Criminal Justice & Licensing ( Scotland) Act 2010 Section 38(1), a charge similar to breach of the peace.
Another four assault to injury charges were found to be not proven at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Joanne said: “I met him in 2013 when I was working with his ex-wife and they looked after my kittens.
“One day I got a message from her saying ‘David has left me’, I let him move into my spare room and he ruined everything.
“It is scary looking back now.
“The night he ran me over I had gone out with my friends, I got a night bus back and I wasn’t allowed to drink alcohol.
“He picked me up and pulled into a layby saying ‘You were drinking alcohol, I bet all those guys wanted to f**k you’.
“I’d taken my shoes off and started walking home.”
At the house in Dalkeith, Midlothian, Joanne went up to their bedroom and then went downstairs to try to appease MacDonald and leaned into the car window to try to kiss him.
She said: “He was still in gear and took off, as he took off I said ‘oh my God my foot’s there – he ran me over, I was on the ground under the car, my body was under the tyre.
MacDonald, from Dalkeith, Midlothian, lied to medics about the circumstances saying Joanne had dropped her phone and bent down to pick it up without him realising.
Surgeons fitted metal plates in her foot and ankle to fix it at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in July 2017 and Joanne lost a job because of absences from work.
She added: “I think if someone comes in with their partner and there’s an injury I think there needs to be more curiosity from the NHS.
“If someone runs someone over they should probably think ‘that’s a bit weird’, they should have separated us’.
Instead Joanne watched her partner “batting his eyelashes” at nurses while she dreaded them falling for his charm offensive, and no questions were asked, and the insurance company was not notified – and the time limit has now expired.
MacDonald was also convicted of assault and causing permanent disfigurement for throwing her through a window and gashing her arm open before he assaulted her again, ripping the stitched wound open.
In 2018 he forced her to eat a mouse nest as a punishment because he thought Joanne had been secretly eating snacks, which he was also convicted for.
Joanne said: “David assaulted me again, which resulted in the stitches opening.
“Now the scar is so unsightly and makes me so self-conscious.
“At the time I didn’t realise how bad it was.
“I don’t think he should get prison he should go to a psychiatric hospital.
“I’m worried he will find me, he turned up at my new flat having picked up my new microwave from Argos, he must have accessed my emails.
“He needs help, I didn’t go to police to ruin his life.”
After ending the relationship Joanne fled to a Women’s Aid shelter, and lost three stone in weight due to the stress.
MacDonald was sentenced on August 31 and is appealing his conviction and sentence.
Joanne said: “I just want it to be over. He has never once apologised. He should serve his time.
“It does worry me that he could somehow con his way to freedom.
“It was a two-week long trial and a very strong sentence, which he deserved.
“He needs to take his punishment and serve the time for what he did to me.
“The thought of that man back on the streets terrifies me.”