July 20, 2024

Handcuffed prisoner in jail

Former Essendon AFL player Andrew Lovett jailed over domestic violence

Former AFL player Andrew Lovett has been jailed after admitting to punching, kicking, spitting and pouring beer on his ex-partner during nearly two years of sustained emotional and physical abuse.

Lovett, who played 88 games for Essendon from 2005 to 2009, faced Dandenong Magistrates Court on Thursday, where he was sentenced to eight months in prison.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to 24 charges relating to domestic violence from February 2020 to December last year.

“No woman should fear or suffer physical harm because of a partner,” magistrate Jason Ong told the 39-year-old.

“This was terrifying, ongoing, aggressive, physical violence. It was controlling and manipulative. You could and should have walked away.

“It was serious and sustained family violence. It was escalating over time [and] cannot be tolerated.”

Tinder date turned to ‘nightmare’, court hears

Lovett met the woman, who cannot be named, through Tinder in October 2019.

She “instantly fell head over heels” for Lovett, but the 2005 Anzac Day medallist’s aggressive behaviour started within months, and she later described him as a vampire who fed off all her energy.

At times, after fleeing from him, the woman would resort to sleeping in her car, public parks, or at the homes of family and friends.

“I never knew that one swipe would change my life forever,” she said in a statement to the court.

“It didn’t take long for the fairytale to turn into a horror story, this wasn’t a movie though, this was real life, I was living a nightmare.

“He was my Prince Charming, who I ended up needing rescuing from. He broke me in every single way when he took off his mask and revealed his true self.

“I was sinking down and when I came up, I got so lost in loving him, but he was a figment of my imagination. It would take me to my darkest times.”

Adding to the physical blows, the woman said, Lovett also consistently belittled her, made her feel worthless and left her with debilitating emotional trauma.

“Whilst they are only words, they hurt more than the physical bruises and marks that go away. These are etched into my memory,” she said.

“The rage in his eyes will haunt me forever. I am so grateful I am alive — this cycle of family violence had to end.”

Lovett has already served 100 days in pre-sentence detention, in what was his first time in custody.

He will be placed on a 12-month community corrections order following his release from prison.

His barrister David Grace QC said the construction worker, who recently obtained a crane operator licence, had gone clean after battling alcohol and substance abuse problems and wanted to turn his life around.

“He is completely repentant,” Mr Grace told the court.

“He’s attempted to try and understand why he acts this way and how to stop this behaviour. His motivation is to resume employment and become a law-abiding citizen.

“He wants to go on with his life, the advancement of his skills, and create a family environment where he can live harmoniously with anyone he comes into contact with.”

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