JAILED: Man with Wolverhampton city motto tattooed on neck threatened partner with acid attack
An ex-convict has been jailed for taking over the life of a homeless shelter worker who fell in love with him and allowed him to move in to her flat.
David Cummings refused to leave when the romance soured and threatened to throw acid in her face and leave her looking "like a Cabbage Patch kid".
He demanded money and when she would not pay him off he told her he was going to send a gang of men down from Birmingham to gang rape her.
His bullying drove her to attempt suicide and when she returned home from hospital, he threatened to kill her. He brandished a knife and said: "I'll do it right here, right now, stick out your arm."
Cummings has tattoos on his face and neck, one of which is the words 'Out of darkness cometh light' tattooed on his throat – the city motto of Wolverhampton.
He has previous convictions for violence, theft and drugs from courts in Wolverhampton, Birmingham, the North East and Liverpool.
He had just been released from jail when he met the victim at a homeless shelter in Torquay in November 2018 and they started a relationship in which he moved into her flat.
She did not want him living there full-time but he refused to leave and stayed for eight months, in which time he became paranoid, jealous and controlling.
He stalked her, sending 48 messages in one day alone and threatened to kill her when she did not respond.
Cummings, aged 40, of no fixed abode, admitted controlling and coercive behaviour and putting a person in fear of violence by harassment and was jailed for 21 months by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court. He made a restraining order banning any further contact.
He told him: "Your conduct had a devastating effect on her. She was, as you knew, vulnerable. Your belittling behaviour caused her to attempt to take her own life.
"You behaved abominably. You made dire threats to cause serious or permanent harm, of sexual assault, and even worse, of death.
"They were disgraceful, shocking and terrifying. It had a massive effect and she lost all confidence for a period of time."
Controlling and jealous
Mr Paul Grumbar, prosecuting, said the 22-year-old diabetes-suffering victim met Cummings through her work at a homeless centre and they started a relationship.
He said Cummings was controlling and jealous, checking her phone and her movements all the time and accusing her falsely of being unfaithful.
He refused to move out, demanded £190 he claimed he was owed, and responded to her attempts to get rid of him by more threats, which included the acid attack, gang rape and murder.
The woman made a victim statement which said: "This had completely destroyed me. I used to be confident and happy. He made me scared to be inside my home or outside my home. He damaged my relationship with my family.
"His messages made me shake. I moved out into temporary accommodation because I did not feel safe where I was."
Mr Will Willden, defending, said Cummings's behaviour is the result of long-standing mental health problems arising from a troubled childhood.
He added he was "deeply ashamed of his behaviour" and is "addressing his issues while in prison".
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