A victim living in fear of her violent husband was able to escape her controlling partner after using a domestic abuse code word.
The frightened woman went into a Boots based in Bootle, Merseyside, and asked for "Ani," which staff knew meant she needed help, taking her into the back room.
Police were contacted and her abuser Anthony Ballard was arrested and interviewed, where he denied the allegations against him.
He has since pleaded guilty to controlling and coercive behaviour and assault causing actual bodily harm and been jailed for two years.
Judge Stuart Driver said the coercive behaviour offence spanned months.
A victim impact statement revealed the victim has since been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and been prescribed medication to help her sleep.
Driver told Ballard he accepted his "mental health has been poor but appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate imprisonment".
A ten year restraining order was also imposed to keep Ballard away from his victim.
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Liverpool Crown Court also heard that Ballard was on licence from a six year sentence for a conspiracy to commit burglaries charge in 2017 at the time of the abuse offence, LiverpoolEcho reports.
His licence for the previous conviction was recalled and the new sentence is set to run concurrently for Ballard, who is not due for release until July next year.
Prosecutor Derek Jones said that 30-year-old Ballard had met his victim via a dating website in 2020 and that the relationship had been good for the first few months.
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Mr Jones said that there was one occasion where Ballard "got very angry and grabbed her by the hair".
The prosecutor continued: "He pinned her to the bed with one hand on her shoulder and said 'I'll blow your head off'.
"Immediately after he poured water over her and called her 'a fat mess.' He said he was with her because no one else would go with her and spat in her face."
He added that the situation had left the victim drained and that her relationships with friends and family had suffered, adding that her "self-esteem is destroyed."
Ken Heckle, defending, said that Ballard had been "obsessive and jealous" and he should have realised what was happening in their relationship.
If you have been affected by issues of domestic violence or coercive control you can call Refuge's 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free. The number is 0808 2000 247
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