‘One of us is going to die tonight’

Picture posed by model.

Picture posed by model.

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He describes himself as a 30-year-old coffee snob who is looking for love.

But this internet lothario is online searching for dates. 
despite subjecting a woman he met on a dating website to an horrific two-hour ordeal.

Neil Jephcott.

Neil Jephcott.

Neil Jephcott attacked his victim, from Morecambe, threatening to slit her throat and stab her with scissors, then strangling her with his bare hands.

The woman, whose identity we are protecting, told The Visitor how she was forced to play dead after Jephcott told her: “One of us will die tonight.” She said: “I was terrified. I just don’t want it to happen to anyone else.”

Jephcott, from Kentmere Road, Lancaster, pleaded guilty to threats to kill and assault.

He seemed charming but then tried to slit her throat. MICHELLE BLADE speaks to a Morecambe woman whose internet dating dreams turned into a nightmare when she became a victim of domestic violence

Susan* thought she had met Prince Charming.

In his current profile on a popular dating website he describes himself as a coffee snob, looking for love and living locally in nearby Lancaster.

In fact Neil Jephcott, 33, seemed perfect for the busy working student – even fooling her parents who were pleased their daughter was smitten.

The couple dated for a few months but the fairytale soon turned sour.

Jephcott became controlling and abusive, culminating in an horrific argument in which he threatened to slit her throat and kill her.

Susan said: “We went for a drink and when we got home he literally just attacked me. I had a duvet wrapped round me and he pulled it off me and started throwing things.

“I told him I didn’t want to be with him any more.

He twisted my right arm right round and held me on the bed with a wine glass over my face.

“He then smashed the glass on his head and tried to get my phone.

“I was screaming at this point and managed to get away from him to use my phone to call for help.

“He then hit my head on the wall and put both hands round my neck and tried to strangle me. I had to pretend to be unconscious,

“I was totally naked and very vulnerable.

“He sat on the couch with a pair of scissors and threatened to stab me and slit my throat. He said, ‘One of us is going to die tonight’.”

Susan said the ordeal lasted two hours, during which Jephcott would start calming down and then get worked up again.

She said: “ I can’t understand why no-one heard anything because I was shouting, ‘Help, please don’t kill me.’

“In the morning he swept up the broken glass and went to work, and I had work in the evening.

“The next weekend he came to get his stuff and tried to do it again. He said he was going to kill me.”

Shocked and frightened, Susan said: “I didn’t want my family knowing the first time. I thought he couldn’t handle his drink.

“The week after I was so scared. He texted me saying he was at my door.

“I was with my friend with her newborn baby. The police came round and that is when it all came out and I made a statement.”

Susan said she felt that following her ordeal, she was put through further stress by the justice system – and that more should be done to help victims like her.

She said: “At court he pleaded guilty to threats to kill and assault. After he had pleaded guilty, it was adjourned twice for sentencing and no-one informed me.

“I had prepared a victim personal statement which I agreed to read out in court, and had worked myself up to read it out, only for it to be adjourned twice.

“It’s not fair on the victim, if that had been a sexual assault that would have been horrific.

“I just feel like everything is tailored to the offender and not to the victim. I have lost a lot of faith in the justice system.”

“I just don’t want it to happen to someone else.

“I wanted to read my personal statement out for a bit of closure, I did want him to know that he had absolutely terrified me.

“He just sat there with no expression.

“His main defence was he had acted out of anger but I think he has got off lightly.”

She said: “He comes across as really charming and even fooled my parents.

“The abuse went on for weeks, some of which was missed out in court.

“If it happened to someone who wasn’t as strong as me, they might not have coped.

“I’m too scared to have relationships now.

“I’m just going to focus on my exams and eventually go to university.

“I haven’t let it affect my studies but it easily could have. “

Neil Jephcott, 33, of Kentmere Road, Lancaster, was sentenced at Lancaster Crown Court and was given nine months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, supervision for two years, a curfew for three months, and a five year restraining order.

He now has a new profile on dating websites, searching for a new partner.

An estimated 1.4m women and 700,000 men in the UK have suffered domestic violence abuse in the past year, according to figures from the office of national statistics.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: “All victims of crime are invited to make a victim personal statement (VPS). Making a VPS provides the victim or their families with an opportunity to say exactly how the crime had affected them and gives them a voice in the Criminal Justice System.

“If they choose to, they can read the VPS out in court in person at the sentence hearing.”

*Susan is an assumed name