HORRIFIED: Dr Kate Moffatt took out an intervention order against her former partner David Farquhar.
DOCTOR Kate Moffatt was living in Echuca when her life changed irrevocably.
A chance meeting in a pub in 2005 led to a new relationship and a move to Ballarat.
Four years later, her life was in tatters.
She had been beaten, kicked, punched so hard her feet left the ground, had plates broken over her head, was twice run over by vehicles, was pushed off a motorbike and was verbally abused daily.
It all culminated in her ex-partner, David Farquhar, breaking into her house and beating her with a large torch.
She left Ballarat the next day and Mr Farquhar was charged over the assault. He was given a 12-month community-based order and fined $700.
“Even though he was 10 years younger, he pursued me. He was nice and charming, full of compliments,” Dr Moffatt said. “He was telling me all about his horrible girlfriends.”
In July, 2005 – three months after their first meeting –
Dr Moffatt moved to Ballarat.
“It was OK at first, but then he started picking on my children,” she said. “About three months in, he became emotionally and verbally abusive, but I forgave him because his father died in the October.”
About that time, Dr Moffatt discovered three other women had taken out intervention orders against Mr Farquhar.
“He said they were two exes that he had dumped who were bitter and were just backing each other and the other was the ex-wife of one of his brothers.”
In January, 2007, the abuse became physical when Dr Moffatt and Mr Farquhar’s son accidently crashed their motorbikes into each other and Mr Farquhar responded by throwing her to the ground and kicked and punched her.
“I stupidly tried to make up with him, but he punched me in the face and I felt my feet leave the ground,” she said.
“I couldn’t go into work (Dr Moffatt is a general practitioner), but I went to work and they took photos that they kept at the surgery.”
During other abuses, Dr Moffatt took photos of the physical damage but forgot to lock her computer and the pictures were always deleted.
Mr Farquhar also checked her emails and wrote abusive replies to males corresponding with Dr Moffatt.
“The emotional abuse was the worst. Every day, he insulted me and said things like, ‘If you don’t shut up right now, I won’t be responsible’.
“He broke plates over my head if he didn’t like tea. My youngest child ran away and refused to return. I felt like I didn’t have anything left.”
Shortly after, Mr Farquhar began seeing an ex-partner behind Dr Moffatt’s back, which culminated in a massive argument.
“I realised I couldn’t do this for the rest of my life. I couldn’t go on being treated like this,” she said.
When she told Mr Farquhar to leave, he smashed a toaster and crockery on his way out.
“He’d been gone for about 10 days when he came back, thinking he could pick up where he left off.”
But Dr Moffatt held her ground, so he then began ring-
ing and texting her non-stop.
She went to the police and organised to take out an apprehended violence order the next morning.
At 4.30am, Mr Farquhar let himself into the house and started beating Dr Moffatt with the torch.
When she tried to call the police, he smashed her mobile phone.
Searching her handbag, he found pamphlets for domestic violence assistance services.
“He made me say I’d stay with him and start a new life together. He said he’d kill me if I spoke to anybody and
that he felt like slashing my throat and burning my house down.”
After Mr Farquhar left, planning to return the next day, Dr Moffatt discovered the home phone line had been cut.
She drove to a friend, who took her to the police station as her car radiator had been punctured and the oil drained out of her motorbike.
“I took out an AVO and left town that day,” she said.
Nearly 12 months later – unaware the AVO was still in place – Mr Farquhar used a proxy to threaten Dr Moffatt if she didn’t drop the assault charges.
Not only did she not drop the assault charges, the phone call was a breach of the AVO.
In October, 2010, the case was heard in Ballarat Magistrates Court.
Magistrate Kay Robertson described it as a “serious and unlawful assault”, particularly from the photographs submitted in evidence.
“The photographs really do demonstrate the injuries you inflicted,” Ms Robertson told Mr Farquhar.
Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Steve Kent also told the court Mr Farquhar showed no remorse when interviewed about the incident and tried to blame the victim.
In his defence, Tania Bolton said Mr Farquhar had lost his job and required psychiatric hospitalisation after a half-hearted suicide attempt.
“He is very remorseful about the events that occurred and wants to put it past him,” Ms Bolton said.
However, Ms Robertson said relationship breakdowns didn’t provide an excuse to act violently.
But Dr Moffatt was horrified the charge was bargained down from threat to kill to unlawful assault and he received a community-based order.
“Courts need to take it more seriously. They need bigger fines or something to make them really think about what they are doing,” she said.
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