A MAN had “the devil in his eyes” when he launched a “terrifying” attack on his girlfriend in her Poole home, a court heard.

Matthew Lee George Brice punched his girlfriend and strangled her until she was “hyperventilating” and “struggling to breathe”.

Brice was arrested by Dorset Police and jailed but despite multiple requests over a number of weeks the constabulary did not provide a custody photo.

She was so scared she called her neighbours and shouted over the phone: “Matt is trying to kill me.”

Brice also used “appalling language” and “twisted the knife metaphorically” by telling his partner she deserved to have her children taken away.

The attack stemmed from an argument about Brice texting an ex-partner of his.

When a neighbour arrived and tried to intervene, the defendant punched him in the head three times.

Brice was found guilty of intentional strangulation and two counts of assault by beating following a trial at Poole Magistrates’ Court.

At a Bournemouth Crown Court hearing in July last year, Judge Robert Pawson deferred sentencing the 33-year-old defendant for six months.

He told Brice he could avoid going to prison if he saved money, did not reoffend, and attended counselling for his mental health issues.

However, at a hearing on Thursday, January 18, Judge Pawson was “not satisfied” Brice had complied.

He said: “In relation to saving a significant sum, I have been told you saved £700 but I have seen no evidence of that.

“You could have showed remorse and commitment by saving further money - there’s no evidence of that.”

Judge Pawson noted Brice was due to attend court in Southampton following “further allegations of a domestic nature” involving another woman.

He also said that the defendant’s referral to a mental health service was closed due to a “lack of engagement.”

Judge Pawson concluded: “I’m not satisfied that you have complied as hoped and required, indeed the reserve.

"I said if you haven’t done any of those three things, then I will send you straight to prison."

Mitigating, Olivia McGonigle said: “Mr Brice fully appreciates that an immediate prison sentence is likely but requests that this is as short as possible.

“He has struggled with his mental health for some time, he has an ADHD diagnosis and struggled in school.

“Mr Brice is struggling significantly with mental health in custody.”

Ms McGonigle added Brice was “relied upon” by his mother, and had “children waiting for him” outside of prison.

Summarising the offence, which happened in December 2022, Judge Pawson said: “You had been drinking that night.

“You inflicted multiple punches on your victim – a woman. You strangled your victim, she was terrified.

“The impact on her has been significant. She feared for her life. She now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“When a third party arrived and endeavoured to intervene, you punched him to the head three times. You resisted all attempts to calm you down.

“A fourth person present referred to you as having ‘the devil in your eyes’."

Brice, of Magnolia Road in Southampton, was sent to jail for 20 months.

He was also handed a restraining order lasting five years from January 18.