A bully stubbed out cigarettes on his girlfriend's neck and poured bleach on her.

Ryan Barr, aka Romeo Barr, subjected a young Liverpool student to "disgusting" abuse.

The 24-year-old spat on his victim, kicked and bit her face, taunted her when she cried and even hit their dog and made her watch.

Barr also made his partner take out loans, leaving her in more than £5,000 of debt.

But the woman beater was spared jail after a court heard he had since changed his ways and helps to care for his nan.

The victim, who the ECHO has chosen not to name, met then 22-year-old Barr in Liverpool in February 2018.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the relationship developed quickly and Barr offered her a place to stay at his nan's home in Four Acre Lane, Clock Face, St Helens, where he lives.

However, Louise McCloskey, prosecuting, said once the woman agreed she was his girlfriend, things soon "deteriorated".

She said: "The defendant would become aggressive in drink, call her names such as 'slag', spit on her and throw things around. This behaviour then began to develop even when the defendant was not in drink."

The court heard he was "jealous and controlling", didn't want her to go out with friends or attend university, became "angry and moody", monitored her phone calls and sometimes "took her phone off her, smashing it".

The victim recalled Barr kicking her to the face as she bent to pick up a towel, after ice cold water was thrown over her while she took a shower, and when she became distressed, he said: "I don't even feel bad for you crying."

Ms McCloskey said the victim described being "hit with a hairbrush or remote control, having her hair pulled, him stubbing out cigarettes on her back or her neck when she was asleep, and an occasion when bleach was poured on her and she described it taking days to remove the smell from her body".

The prosecutor said: "He would also hit their dog that they shared and make her watch."

The final attack came on July 4, 2018, when the victim went to a nightclub in Liverpool.

Ms McCloskey said: "The defendant saw her, spat at her and bit her jaw, followed the complainant back to the flat where she was staying at university and security staff made him leave."

She said Barr also "made her take out a number of loans" and after the relationship ended, "bombarded" her with texts and calls, "some apologetic declaring his love for her, others abusive, using words regularly like slut".

Ms McCloskey said the bite to the jaw "thankfully" caused a "relatively minor" injury.

When interviewed by police in October 2018 and January 2019, Barr accepted arguing, but denied any physical or emotional abuse.

The woman said she was previously confident, with close friends and family, but was "isolated" from both by Barr and lost her confidence.

Ms McCloskey said: "She is still coming to terms with the financial difficulties that this defendant has left her in and obviously feels like she is a different person than she was before."

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Barr, who admitted controlling and coercive behaviour, was previously convicted of common assault against the same victim.

He received a community order on May 17, 2018 and was then twice convicted of failing to comply with its requirements.

Judge Andrew Menary, QC, raised concerns about denials made by Barr in a pre-sentence report.

Carmel Wilde, defending, said Barr accepted he would be sentenced on the prosecution case, but noted there were "elements of minimisation".

Judge Menary said there was a "comprehensive denial", which he said was "not very impressive".

The judge said: "It's not a great start that on the face of it, he has comprehensively lied to the Probation Service."

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Ms Wilde said Barr realised he needed help and his guilty pleas spared his victim having to give evidence at a trial.

She said jailing him would "do nothing to address the risk of future offending" and the report found his community order had a "positive effect" in the two years since, meaning there was "a realistic prospect of rehabilitation".

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Ms Wilde said: "Clearly it was disgusting behaviour and shameful offending, for which he now holds his hands up.

"He's since had a further relationship without concerns and in the words of probation, put his learning into practice."

Ms Wilde said Barr was awaiting a DBS check to start a new job with Amazon.

Ryan Barr, aka Romeo Barr, 24, of Four Acre Lane, Clock Face, St Helens

The lawyer said he lived with his nan due to "trauma" experienced as a child and she was dependent on his care.

Judge Menary said some of the violence was "particularly nasty" and Barr was "jealous for no good reason".

He said: "Much of the relationship was marked by appalling and disgraceful behaviour on your part.

"You were overbearing towards her, abusive, threatening, violent.

"You abused her financially in terms of taking out unnecessary and excessive loans, which plainly she has now been saddled with.

"The aggression and violence towards her was at times particularly unpleasant, involving for example stubbing a cigarette on her neck, or pouring bleach on her."

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He told Barr it wasn't surprising "she is a changed person because of her experience with you".

However, the judge said Barr hadn't offended since, was still young, had a new job and his nan relied on his support.

Judge Menary said Barr's behaviour needed to be further addressed by the Probation Service, adding: "What they've done is already bearing fruit. I hope that carries on."

He handed Barr 15 months in jail, suspended for 18 months, a 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and 150 hours of unpaid work.

The judge ordered him to pay £500 in compensation to the victim and imposed a two-year restraining order.