A man who battered and abused five partners over 26 years is facing a prison sentence.
Robert Penman, 55, escaped justice for years until one of his victims reported him to the police, starting an investigation that revealed a violent past.
He assaulted a string of partners between 1986 and 2012, attacking one girlfriend because she did not buy him cigarettes.
Another was “pleading for her life” when he hit her with a piece of wood so hard it snapped in two. He pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Monday to five charges of assault to injury at various address in the city.
He abused his first victim between 1986 and 1990, his second partner between 1993 and 1994, another woman between 1997 and 2000, a fourth partner between 1999 and 2002 and his final victim over two days in August 2012. Penman will learn his fate when he returns to the dock next month.
Sheriff Johanna Johnston QC told him: “You have admitted your guilt for a dreadful catalogue of significant violent offending against vulnerable persons.”
The court heard that when Penman and his first victim became a couple she “noticed a change” after a few months and he became “controlling”.
Procurator fiscal depute Zahra Latif said: “He would tell her she was not allowed to go out without him, not allowed to socialise.”
She said Penman became physically abusive and assaulted her around two or three times a week.
The court was told of an incident when Penman grabbed his partner and dragged her by the hair before punching and kicking her.
Ms Latif said during the relationship Penman asked his partner to pay for cigarettes for him and “if she refused she would then be assaulted”.
His second victim said he would “regularly batter her” and recalled an incident when in their bedroom he repeatedly hit her with a piece of wood.
Her young son at the time walked in and saw Penman hitting his mother so hard the wood broke. He remembered her “pleading for her life” and that he was terrified.
The violence towards her was uncovered during the investigation into Penman and after he appeared in court in relation to the other four women.
Penman then moved on to another woman in January 1997, who recalls two occasions of violence by him. She said after six months the relationship “deteriorated” and he became controlling, telling her what to do.
He grabbed her by the neck and choked her twice. He straddled her and strangled her and she feared she would pass out.
Penman then started an abusive relationship with another woman, which was “volatile from the beginning”.
Ms Latif told the court: “After around three months he became physically abusive towards her.”
The victim’s mother noticed she was “black and blue” and her mood changed.
After an incident when he smacked her on the face with the back of his hand as she helped him change a hospital dressing she took her children to a homeless centre.
During a three-year relationship with Penman, his fifth and final victim before being brought to justice was attacked over two days in August 2012 and resulted in her eventually going to the police.
He kicked her on the body and tried to kick her on the head and despite apologising told her she “knew how to push his buttons”.
The victim went to her GP and concocted a story she had been attacked by a friend, although later gave a statement to police in April 2014 after he had left her alone at home.
Defence counsel Matthew Jackson said his client is a “contrite individual” who is a different person from the one described in the court.
Sheriff Johnston deferred sentence on Penman until next month and remanded him in custody.