Benjamin Meredith beat his partner over a period of 12 hours because he was angry she ate too many pieces of toast, leaving her thinking she would die.
WARNING: This article discusses extreme violence and may be upsetting.
A man furious at a woman for eating too many pieces of toast punched her, pushed her to the floor and stomped on her head.
But the brutal act was only the first in what would be a series of violent attacks during a 12-hour ordeal that left the injured woman fearing for her life.
During the assaults Benjamin Meredith told the victim he owned her, that he “didn’t care” about going back to jail and to “just handle it while I punch your teeth out”.
The 45-year-old appeared in Christchurch District Court on Friday, where he pleaded guilty to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, impeding breathing and a representative charge of threatening to kill.
According to the summary of facts, Meredith woke the woman – who was staying at his house for the night on July 30 last year – at 6.30am, yelling at her for the amount of toast she had eaten earlier that morning.
The woman was then subject to a series of violent assaults over the next 12 hours until she was finally able to escape the home.
Meredith repeatedly punched the woman in the face, pushed her to the floor and stomped on her head. He then continued to punch her in the head and face before leaving the bedroom, ordering her to clean up the mess.
He also ordered her to clean up the kitchen, swinging a punch at her when she tried to get past to do so but missing. He told her she was lucky he missed, and he was going to “f***” her up.
A short time later the woman was sitting on a couch when Meredith became verbally abusive toward her because he couldn’t find his lighter.
He backed the woman into his bedroom and threatened to punch the rest of her teeth out. He told her he was going to kill her.
Meredith then instructed the woman to look at him and come to him. She was frightened as she knew she was about to be assaulted, the summary of facts said.
Meredith told her to put her head up so he could get a clear punch of her face.
“Just handle it, handle it, while I punch your teeth out,” he told her.
Meredith grabbed the woman’s face and pinched her nose while squeezing and twisting until she felt her nose crack.
He grabbed the woman by her hair and forced her face into the bed until she ended up on the floor. He then stood on her head and attempted to stand on her neck.
Meredith began to choke the woman, causing her to struggle for breath. She feared she was going to die or have her neck broken.
He told her “I want to kill you” and he didn’t care about going back to jail. He also threatened to put her head through a window.
After strangling the woman for about 20 seconds he stood her up and repeatedly punched her while holding on to her by the throat.
The woman begged for him to stop and he threw her to the ground, telling her to “f*** up”, before leaving the room and ordering her to clean up the mess.
The woman was too terrified to leave and believed Meredith would kill her if she tried.
During the beatings, Meredith told the woman he owned her and said, “I say jump, you jump” and “Who owns you? Beajay Stormtrooper”.
Later, once it got dark Meredith ordered the woman to make him a coffee. While she was doing so, he hit her in the face and punched her in the ribs.
When Meredith was preoccupied in the kitchen, the woman ran down the hallway and to her car before fleeing.
After leaving the address, Meredith continued to message the woman through a series of threatening voice messages.
“Think you’re f***** smart … I’ll crack your f***** eyeballs in b****,” one voice message said.
As a result of the beatings, the woman suffered a fractured nose, a fractured ethmoid (bone between the eyes), a reddened eye with double vision, and a bruised and bloodied ear.
She also had significant swelling and bruising of both eyes, bumps on her scalp and bruising on her arms, chest and abdomen.
Meredith was remanded in custody and will be sentenced in December.
Emily Moorhouse is a Christchurch-based Open Justice journalist at NZME. She joined NZME in 2022. Before that, she was at the Christchurch Star.