A brave mum has courageously spoken out after suffering years of violent abuse and mental torture at the hands of her controlling boyfriend before he was jailed.
Amanda Bruce, 30, endured a campaign of horrific physical trauma which drove her to the brink of suicide after being manipulated by vicious thug Branden Kearney.
The 22-year-old bully left his partner with a broken nose and several fractured ribs and even tried to shave off her hair on New Year’s Eve after pinning her down.
During another brutal attack, he punched her in the mouth and bit her ear until Amanda’s 15-year-old son was forced to drag him off his screaming mother.
Kearney also smashed up her house and reduced her to a shell of herself through thousands of abusive texts that destroyed her self-esteem.
It took three years before Amanda was able to free herself from Kearney’s manipulative clutches and she eventually reported the abuse to police.
And she bravely watched on as her former boyfriend was jailed for two years at Northampton Crown Court on Friday (19/6).
Kearney admitted assault, intimidating a witness, possession of cocaine and two counts of criminal damage.
After the case, Amanda told how she became caught in a vicious cycle of domestic abuse after meeting Kearney on a night out in 2017.
She also revealed how Kearney would threaten to kill himself if she did not do as he wished and would regularly lose his temper with terrifying consequences.
The mum-of-two, of Corby, Northants, said: “He was charming and very, clever. I’d never experienced relationship manipulation before.
“The first red flag was when my mum bought my family tickets for the Flashpoint Festival in Corby.
“I went round to Branden’s grandma’s house, where I told him I was going to the festival.
“He got up, never said anything, walked into his kitchen, came back into the room and held a knife to his throat and said ‘if you go to the festival today I’m going to kill myself’
“I should have walked away then and I didn’t. He had that manipulation and control but I tried to help him.”
Kearney soon started to ramp up the level of abuse, banning Amanda from seeing her friends and tracking almost her every move.
Amanda added: “It was gradual, it happened over months so it wasn’t I would just walk away and that was it.
“He would be on his knees, saying ‘I’m sorry, please forgive me’ when I tried to leave.
“At one point, we’d had a bit of an argument and he went on his phone and ordered some rope from Amazon, delivered to my house.
“He said that he ordered it because he was going to hang himself.
“When I was going out with friends and family he would turn up to those places and I couldn’t figure out how he knew where I was.
“I found out he had looked over my shoulder at one point and seen me put my passcode into my phone.
“He memorised that and went into my phone one day and added his fingerprint onto my phone.
“Not only that he downloaded an app called Find my Friends onto my phone and was tracking my whereabouts as he linked it to his phone.”
At this point, Amanda ended the relationship and was forced into taking out a restraining order that banned Kearney from seeing her.
However, he kept turning up at her home, breaching the order three times and was eventually jailed for four weeks.
When he came out of prison, Kearney reached out to Amanda claiming he was “a different person”.
Amanda said: “He wormed his way back in with the sympathy and I forgave him. I tried to try to get on with him but then the same would happen.
“Money was going missing from my home, he would steal from me.
“it was mental torture. At one point he pinned me down on the bed and tried to shave my hair off with clippers. My son had to drag him off of me a couple of times.
“I gave a statement on the abuse to the police but then I retracted it because of Branden’s threats.”
When Amanda tried to withdraw her statement, a police officer reached out as he believed that Kearney was intimidating her.
She said: “They felt I was frightened and had been intimidated because they knew there was a lot of history there.
“That’s when I opened up to the police. I told them everything that had gone on so a warrant was put out for his arrest.”
Kearney was arrested on February 29 and entered a not guilty plea right up until the day before his trial when he changed it to guilty.
Due to Covid-19, proceedings were adjourned until Friday (19/6) where Amanda attended to see her attacker jailed.
She even bravely read out her own victim statement in court, saying: “Branden came across as polite, charming, intelligent and charismatic.
”Shortly after we met, Branden started to show signs of abnormal behaviour such as acting possessive, not wanting me to use social media and then stopping me seeing my friends and family.
“Branden would threaten in detail on how and where he was planning on killing himself and because of this, on so many occasions, I would get back with him as I loved him and did not want to see him hurt himself.
”I pushed everyone I cared about away because I felt it was easier to meet Branden’s demands.
”I became very insecure and stopped going to work and continued not to see my friends in the hope Branden’s behaviour would change.”
She also detailed how he had caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to her home, including throwing a brick through her window.
She added: “I felt suicidal toward the end of the relationship. I couldn’t eat, sleep and was constantly exhausted.
”I now know I was stuck in a vicious cycle of manipulation and mental torture. It didn’t matter what I did for Branden, he always made me feel like it wasn’t good enough.
”I finally came to the conclusion that I cannot help Branden anymore and it is not fair for me to put myself and my kids through this anymore.
“I now know this was never a loving relationship and all this has been coercive, controlling domestic abuse.”
Amanda added: “When I did get my day in court, he showed no remorse.
“I tried my hardest not to make eye contact with him throughout the court hearing until I went up and read my victim impact statement.
“When I came down from the stand I did look across and he looked at me and his eyes looked blank. There was nothing there and he didn’t really care.
“I just thought to myself, nothing’s ever going to change with him. Nothing at all.
“I’m trying to get on with my life. I’ve had nightmares, I’ve woke up with my heart racing, panic attacks.
“If it wasn’t for my friends, family and my children, I don’t know what I’d do. There were days where I couldn’t even get my head off the pillow. It was just horrendous.
“It’s really pushed me back relationship-wise. I’m scared to ever let my heart get touched again.
“I’ve built this guard where I’m just going to push people away. The physical scars can heal.
“I had broken ribs, I had a broken nose and I would make excuses same friends and family that I had fallen down the stairs.
“I stopped going to work. My ribs were badly broken but I didn’t even go to get treatment for that. I was so poorly with it, for three months I couldn’t walk properly.
“I’m a strong person, but I in this cycle of abuse. Why couldn’t I just walk away? It was because I’m such a helpful and forgiving person. I just tried to help Branden.
“It was like Stockholm Syndrome. You just try to help people in life but some you can’t help.
“I’ve come to the realisation that there’s just no help for people like this. He is a sociopath, a narcissistic person because he doesn’t show any remorse for anything.
“He doesn’t recall events, even after the broken ribs or broken noses, the next day he would say ‘Oh, what’s the matter with you, why are you limping?’
“It didn’t fathom in his mind that he had done anything wrong. It was like a personality disorder.
“People need to be aware of how dangerous he is.”
Amanda, who has now completed the Freedom Programme designed for victims of domestic violence, hopes her story can help others in a similar position.
She added: “I think that they need to seek help from friends and family. They’re not alone, this does happen every day to men and women.
“It happens to a lot of people so just try not to be afraid, you to remain strong and seek the help that you can.
“There is a way forward, there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Sentencing Kearney, Judge David Herbert QC told him: “You’ve made her life a misery. These are serious and repeated offences.
“It was a nasty assault. In Miss Bruce’s words, your temper went from nought to 100.”
The judge prohibited Kearney indefinitely from contacting Amanda, visiting her street or her children’s school or posting about her on social media.
Paul Webb, defending, said his client was sorry for his actions, and that he had been deeply affected by the death of his mother when he was a boy and his drug use.
Mr Webb added: “The relationship was mutually destructive. He was ill-equipped to deal with it. His actions were frequently petulant.”