A VIOLENT and abusive Rugby man repeatedly and brutally assaulted a relative who had taken him in after his release from prison, leaving her physically and mentally traumatised.
Even after he had been arrested and bailed by the police for three assaults, Dion Mendes returned and attacked her again.
Despite that, he initially pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court, blaming his victim for the incidents, before finally changing his pleas to guilty on four charges of assault.
Mendes, 22, of no fixed address, but who was living at his victim’s Rugby home at the time, was jailed for a total of three years and nine months.
Prosecutor Elizabeth Power said that Mendes and his relative had lost contact for a while.
But when he came out of prison and was sofa-surfing, she took him under her wing – and in November 2019 he turned up at her home with his possessions in bin bags.
She agreed he could stay as long as he kept out of trouble, but the way he then treated her was ‘disgraceful,’ observed Judge Anthony Potter.
Miss Power said that for a few months Mendes did seem to mend his ways, but in April last year his behaviour changed and there were continuous incidents of violence towards her.
On one occasion in May the woman was in her bedroom when Mendes came in and demanded her phone, and when she refused he grabbed it from her and made a call to his mother.
He then grabbed her by the face and hit her, causing a cut to her eyebrow, and when she went downstairs to try to get away from him, he followed her, hurling verbal abuse.
Mendes then stubbed his cigarette out on her wrist before grabbing her by the hair, pulling out a clump, and hitting her head against the wall.
In mid-June the woman went out while Mendes was asleep – and when she got back he demanded to know where she had been, grabbing her by her arm and swinging her round.
He then punched her three times to the face and, as she could feel blood pouring down her face, punched her to the nose, telling her: “You think you can just dip off while I’m sleeping.”
Mendes grabbed her by the hair and ordered her to take off her jacket, which was covered in blood.
Once inside, as she was washing the blood off her face in the bathroom, he walked in and stubbed out a cigarette in her ear before following her into her bedroom and kicking her to the face.
Later in June, after she again refused to let him use her phone, he ran upstairs and attacked her on the landing, punching her to the face, knocking her down, and stamping on her chest.
Mendes then went back downstairs, but as she tried to leave he attacked her again, punching her, shaking her by her hair, spitting in her face and hitting her all over her body with a sweeping brush.
When he eventually stopped and went to join a friend in the front room, she left, but he followed her to a nearby shop where he threatened to slit her throat as she pleaded with the shopkeeper to call the police, which he did.
Injuries from that attack included severe bruising the whole length of her thigh down to her calf, and Judge Potter commented: “They are about as bad bruising as I’ve ever seen for an offence of actual bodily harm.”
Mendes was arrested and released on bail with a condition of not contacting her, but in August the police were called to her home, and he was seen on CCTV as he made off.
The woman said after he had turned up she had seen her necklace hanging out of his pocket, so tried to grab it back, at which he had repeatedly punched her, causing a cut to her ear and extensive bruising, and threw a bottle at her.
Graeme Simpson, defending, said: “He has shown real insight into his behaviour and the triggers for it. The real issue is his excessive use of alcohol and cocaine.”
Pointing out Mendes had spent the equivalent of a 12-month sentence on remand, he argued for a suspended sentence.
But jailing Mendes, Judge Potter told him: “You have an unenviable criminal record which shows a strain of violence and a willingness to abuse others.
“Your actions in 2020 towards a woman who had shown you only kindness reinforces that impression. You treated her as someone you could assault and bully.
“Having been arrested, you did not show an ounce of compassion and admit what you had done. You blamed her and spoke of her in disparaging terms.
“I regret to say I find your offending far too serious to pass a suspended sentence, because you are getting close to the stage where a court will consider an extended sentence.”