Charmer turned 'sadistic' on lover

A charmer who swept a Swedish shop assistant off her feet before beginning a "sadistic" campaign of violence and torture was today jailed indefinitely.

Amanda Estay-Lilja, 26, fell head-over-heels in love with Norman Reid after he chatted her up in a pub.

But by the end of their relationship in March last year she was left battered and terrified by a series of brutal attacks that left her fearing for her life.

The Old Bailey heard Reid would be prone to sudden mood swings in which he would tie her up and beat her, fracturing her eye socket and breaking her nose.

He even once electrocuted her buttocks and on another occasion smashed a beer bottle and threatened to blind her with it.

When her anxious mother booked her on a flight back to Sweden, Reid stopped her from going by cutting up her passport with a pair of scissors.

He even claimed that he could have her killed and also arrange for her parents in Sweden to be murdered.

Reid, 39, of Clapton, east London, was today given an indeterminate sentence for public protection with a minimum term of four-and-a-half years.

The court heard he had a history of abusing women and even once threatened a female probation officer.

He was found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent, three charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and two counts of threats to kill, as well as battery and false imprisonment.

After the convictions he claimed his attacks on Miss Estay-Lilja were fuelled by cocaine and alcohol.

The judge, Recorder Sally O'Neill QC, said he had carried out a "violent and sadistic" campaign of violence against his girlfriend.

"She had the misfortune to fall deeply in love with you and over the next 12 months remained loyal to you despite escalating violence towards her," the judge told Reid.

"You treated her as your possession, to abuse her and terrorise her in the certain knowledge she would not make a complaint against you.

"The damage that you have done to that young woman is incalculable. It must have been a deeply traumatising experience for her.

"She describes your behaviour towards her as horrific and believed that she was going to die at your hands."

The judge said Reid had shown a "pattern of sustained and serious violence" towards girlfriends in the past.

She added: "You have previously threatened a female member of the probation service, so it may be that you are not just a danger to women with whom you have been in a relationship but women in general.

"There is another side to you, the side that Amanda Estay-Lilja saw. It was that that attracted her and drew her into your destructive web."

Reid had in the past been jailed for abusing girlfriends, on one occasion pouring boiling water over his victim's arm.

Jurors heard that Miss Estay-Lilja had been "instantly attracted" to Reid when they met in a pub in Hackney, east London, in February 2007.

Ish Sheikh, prosecuting, said: "She found him to be very charming and easy to speak to. She was very much in love with him and was very happy."

But soon he had changed and she wanted to leave him - after which he "flipped" and launched the first of his attacks on her, at her flat in Hoxton, east London, leaving her needing hospital treatment.

Despite the violence he won her back but the abuse started again and she eventually decided it could not go on.

"I thought 'I can't live through this, I can't take another beating'," she told the court.

"He was putting his hands round my neck trying to strangle me, putting a pillow on my face, trying to suffocate me. I thought 'I am going to die'."

After he cut up her passport she managed to go to the Swedish Embassy to get a new one and it was only back in her native country that she felt able to contact a women's centre and then police, who contacted British authorities.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments