A CHEF dished out a torrent of violence upon a woman in which he strangled, kicked and hit her.

The victim, who had been living as a lodger at Sergio Canalejas Donado’s Bournemouth home for less than two weeks, was “in disbelief that she was still alive” after the attack.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard the defendant said he could kill the woman and “bury her in the garden and nobody would notice”.

She was left bloodied and covered in bruises as a result of Donado’s blows in the early hours on March 18.

Judge Robert Pawson told the defendant, who had previously worked in Michelin star restaurants run by Gordon Ramsey and Michael Caines, he had thought the only suitable sentence would be immediate custody.

However, he decided to take the “extremely unusual” course to issue a suspended sentence.

The judge said Donado currently posed a risk to any woman he entered a relationship with, but it was in the public interest and of any woman he may meet in the future that he was given the best opportunity to be rehabilitated.

Judge Pawson, who also highlighted the offender’s personal mitigation, said the best chance of the 35-year-old addressing his issues was away from custody.

Donado, who was described as having alcohol and drug related problems, was sentenced to 22 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Prosecuting, Charlie Barrass-Evans said the victim had been introduced to the defendant 10 days before the incident and taken up an invitation to live with him.

The court heard she soon felt “uncomfortable” in the property, particularly due to Donado’s drug taking.

She initially left the address with no intention of coming back but without anywhere else to stay and being able to speak very little English “she felt she had no choice but to return".

Mr Barrass-Evans said the following day she refused a request by the defendant “to have sexual intercourse with one of his friends”.

The victim said that she wanted to leave the property and asked Donado to call her a taxi.

“He told her that if she was leaving she owed him £100,” Mr Barrass-Evans said.

“She refused and the violence upon her started.”

Donado inflicted an initial three strikes which split open the woman’s lip. He grabbed her by her ponytail and hit her head against a wall.

The defendant went on to throw the woman to the floor, get on top of her and strangle her.

“He said words to the effect of he could kill her and quote ‘bury her in the garden and nobody would notice’," Mr Barrass-Evans said.

The barrister said she took the opportunity while the defendant was distracted to leave the property and call police, but the force required a translation service to speak to her. Before this was arranged the defendant resumed the violence.

The victim made unsuccessful attempts to get help from neighbours.

Police made contact 15 minutes later and spoke to the defendant, who was derogatory and made false allegations. Officers attended and the defendant was arrested.

A statement from the victim said she was “living in fear” both physically and mentally.

The court heard Donado was released on conditional bail by a judge in late March.

On April 14, when he was drinking with a group of other men he “without explanation” slapped one of them.

Mr Barrass-Evans said the defendant went on to say “you are a ******* loser, you are a piece of ****”.

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Another member of the group urged Donado to stop, but he reacted by assaulting this man, including pushing him to the ground, strangling him and putting him in a headlock.

Police were called and officers arrested Donado at the scene.

The defendant, who lived in Robert Louis Stevenson Avenue, previously pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and assault by beating.

Graham Gilbert, representing Donado, said his client had significant personal mitigation.

The defendant returned to Spain several years ago to be with his family as his father was unwell.

Donado lost his father to cancer and his grandmother passed away in the same period, which had a significant impact on him.

“He began to drink to try and deal with the loss of both relatives and that clearly began to cause difficulties,” Mr Gilbert said.

The defendant opened a restaurant in the Basque region in late 2019 using a 100,000 euro loan, with his mother as a guarantor, however, the venue fell victim to the pandemic. His then partner suffered a miscarriage.

Mr Gilbert said: “He fled Spain as soon as he was able to.

"He accepts that this was to try and run away from the problems he was having. Unfortunately they followed him.”

After losing a job in Torquay, he lived on the street and he was the victim of a stabbing around Christmas 2020. The offender moved to Bournemouth in February last year but his mental health continued to deteriorate.

Due to his circumstances, he could not be offered accommodation by social services and he took an offer from a man to live with him.

Mr Gilbert said this placed the defendant in an environment of drug taking and alcohol consumption, which did not help with his existing problems.

Since being remanded in custody, Donado had obtained every certificate available to him from in-cell courses.

Mr Gilbert presented large pencil drawings the offender had done will in custody, with the judge acknowledging that he was clearly a talented chef and artist.

Judge Pawson told Donado that his actions towards the female victim were “really unforgivable”.

“Her face was swollen,” the judge said. “She was bruised all over. She was bloodied.”

The impact upon her had been “quite significant”, he added Judge Pawson, who also imposed a five-year restraining order, said he accepted the defendant’s remorse as genuine.

The suspended sentence included requirements to complete a Building Better Relationships programme, take part in up 25 rehabilitation activity days and complete 250 hours of unpaid work.

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