27 July 2022

UPDATED: Abuser who made relationship 'a life and death struggle' for ex-partner changes plea

| Albert McKnight
Man in hoodie

Jamie Damien Millard is fighting accusations of domestic violence from his former partner. Photos: Supplied.

WARNING: This article contains allegations of domestic violence.

UPDATED 27 July, 5 pm: The ACT Magistrates Court hearing against 41-year-old Jamie Damien Millard ended on its third day when he pleaded guilty to two counts of choking and two counts of assault.

He admitted choking his former partner in February and April 2018, as well as assaulting her in April 2018 and March 2019.

His lawyer, Darryl Perkins, had asked Magistrate Louise Taylor to exclude the former partner from watching the entry of the pleas, as she was able to view the court over audio-visual link.

He said it was “a bit unsavoury” and “seems designed to make it more difficult for my client”.

“I don’t consider that to be so at all,” Magistrate Taylor replied. The former partner was allowed to watch.

An agreed statement of facts were tendered to the court and Magistrate Taylor listed the matter for sentencing on 13 September.

Millard, who had already been held in custody, did not apply for bail and was remanded in custody.

26 July: A woman has claimed the relationship with her former partner, who is fighting charges alleging he repeatedly assaulted her, was “a life and death struggle” every day.

A hearing started against 41-year-old Jamie Damien Millard of Dunlop in the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday (25 July), in which he is contesting charges of choking, assault and damaging property.

He allegedly committed the abuse against his former partner in the late-2010s and she told the court each of the alleged incidents happened when she was holding their young child.

“I can remember him coming through the front door, he was just angry and aggressive, and I knew that it was my danger time,” she said of the first incident.

She alleged Millard grabbed her by the throat and lifted her up so she had to stand on her tiptoes.

“I remember I was crying. I don’t remember a great deal, I do apologise, [but] I remember I couldn’t breathe and there was a lot of pain.”

She claimed he formed his other hand into a fist “ready to punch me in the face” and later smashed a chalkboard that hung on a pantry door.

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The woman said her throat hurt afterwards, her tongue swelled up, there was a “clicking” in her throat and she was in so much pain she could only whisper.

She explained she was scared by the pain and eventually went to hospital, but claimed Millard told her she couldn’t tell anyone there what happened because he’d get “in trouble” and she should instead say she’d dropped a weight on her neck, which is what she said.

The woman alleged the second incident happened when Millard was “going off his head” after accusing her of cheating.

She alleged he grabbed her by the throat while she carried their child in her arms and her other child was nearby, “screaming to Jamie to let me go”.

“I wasn’t breathing,” she alleged.

She said he later slammed a door on her finger, ripping off a fingernail.

In the last alleged incident, she claimed she was again holding their child in her arms when Millard pushed her against the pantry, used his forearm to lift her off the ground, covered her mouth with his hand and squeezed.

“It was that hard and fast it actually put my top tooth through my bottom lip,” she claimed.

She said there was a significant size difference between them – she was under 50 kg while he was over 90 kg.

The woman alleged Millard was manipulative and controlling in their relationship, and she had to be “hypervigilant” to his behaviour.

For instance, she alleged he put cameras outside the house that he could use to see what she was doing and would “constantly” accuse her of cheating.

“The nature of the relationship was, literally, every day it was a life and death struggle,” she claimed.

In his opening remarks, Millard’s lawyer Darryl Perkins argued there was a lack of direct witnesses to the various alleged assaults and there was very little evidence about the injuries the woman said she sustained.

He said police arrived at the scene after each set of alleged offences and it appeared that while they offered her support on each occasion, she rejected those offers.

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Mr Perkins also said his client received a $400,000 compensation payment during their relationship and claimed that large amount of money influenced her “in her relationship with police”.

When he cross-examined the woman, he asked her why she hadn’t left the relationship earlier than she did, which she told him was a “ridiculous question”.

Mr Perkins also challenged her as to why she didn’t make a statement to police during an alleged incident, but she told him, “You don’t understand how scared I was of Jamie”.

The hearing is estimated to run for three days before Magistrate Louise Taylor.

If this story has raised any concerns for you, 1800RESPECT, the national 24-hour sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line, can be contacted on 1800 737 732. Help and support are also available through The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre 02 6247 2525, The Domestic Violence Crisis Service ACT 02 6280 0900, and Lifeline: 13 11 14. In an emergency call 000.

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