An abusive thug who ran over his girlfriend and forced her to eat a mouse nest had his bid for freedom rejected – which his victim said was ‘the best Christmas present ever’.
David MacDonald, 39, from Dalkeith, Midlothian, who carried out a reign of terror between June 2016 until November 2018, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in August.
Ex-girlfriend Joanne Flanagan, 28, from Scotland, suffered physical and mental abuse at the hands of her older lover – who launched an appeal after being sentenced at Edinburgh Sheriff Court for 14 charges of domestic abuse.
Aeronautical engineer MacDonald pushed Joanne through a window, forced her to pick up broken glass with her bare hands and tore open stitches on wounds he had caused.
He also ran her over leaving her with metalwork in her body and massive scarring.
MacDonald inflicted such extreme violence on Joanne it left her with anxiety, PTSD, depression, flashbacks, insomnia, body dysmorphia, paranoia and an ‘impending sense of doom’.
Joanne had known him since 2013 when he was married to one of her pals, and started dating him three years later after the marriage ended and he moved into her spare room.
She now believes he preyed on her having known the trauma she experienced as a child in the care system, and spoke out to protect other women.
The student believes he should be in a psychiatric hospital rather than a prison.
Joanne said: “It’s the best Christmas present ever that he has been denied an appeal. When I read ‘the accused has been refused leave to appeal’ I was over the moon.
“It’s finally over. I was screaming the house down, I was ecstatic.
“He is a serial domestic abuser. I went through hell at his hands and it changed me forever. He denied all the charges and was found guilty.
“Now he has failed again. I have not received anything from this experience apart from emotional and physical scarring.
“I did not do this for financial gain and have not tried to claim compensation.
“This was about me telling people what David is like. They needed to know.”
She added: “But the close family and friends who supported me have been amazing. I could not have done it without them making me realise it was him who was at fault, not me.
“He was the weak one and they helped me be stronger.”
During the relationship 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: “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.
“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*** 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.
“He said ‘I f****** hate you’ and he raced off.
“I tried to drag myself upstairs, and when he came back he said ‘I f******* hate you’.
“Then he saw my foot and said ‘oh my god baby what have you done?'”.
MacDonald 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.
She added: “I’m getting on with my life now, studying, quite happy and feeling satisfied that he is off the streets.”