A man from Tunbridge Wells has been jailed after making threats to murder and bury his partner during an abusive relationship which saw her also repeatedly beaten.

John Kirby was sentenced to more than four years’ imprisonment, following convictions for a string of violent offences between January 2018 and August 2019.

Kirby subjected his victim to a campaign of relentless physical and mental abuse, during which he regularly used violence which included punching and kicking the woman in the head and dragging her by her hair. In one incident the 42-year-old pushed his victim down the stairs while she was pregnant and then throttled her with his hands, causing her to lose consciousness.

John Kirby

Kirby would spit at the victim and prevent her from leaving the house by locking the property and hiding her car keys. He would demand to know who she had been speaking to and the mental torment also included destroying her clothes and throwing food at her face.

Violent outburst

He was initially arrested in August 2019, following a violent outburst in the presence of a young child which began as he and the victim were travelling in a car in WyeAshford. Kirby threw chips at her while she was driving and then punched her in the face. When the car stopped, he pushed the victim to the floor and repeatedly kicked her, in front of the child.

A Kent Police investigation would lead officers to uncover the true scale of Kirby’s abusive behaviour. In recordings secretly made on her phone, her tormentor could be heard threatening to burn her with hair straighteners and making threats to kill her by suffocation, with Kirby bragging he would then bury her in his garden.

Appearing before Maidstone Crown Court, Kirby pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm and four counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Two further charges linked to an assault and with engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour were ordered by the court to lie on file.

On Friday 13 May 2022, Kirby, of Still Lane, Southborough, Tunbridge Wells was sentenced to four years and six months’ imprisonment. Upon his release from prison, he will also be subject to a restraining order.


Investigating officer PC Gabriella Edir said: ‘People like Kirby make victims’ lives an absolute misery. He has used extreme fear and threats of violence as tools to exert control over almost every aspect of this woman’s life and even after their relationship ended continued to terrorise her with appalling violence and chilling threats. We have been determined to get justice for the victim, whose bravery has undoubtedly helped us build a successful case, and one which left Kirby with no choice but to plead guilty.

‘Tackling domestic abuse remains a key priority for Kent Police and we continue to urge victims to come forward, confident in the knowledge they will receive the best possible service. Remember, you are not to blame for what is happening and you can report it to us or contact several support organisations who can and will help you.’

By Ed

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