A domestic abuse survivor has called for improvements to the justice system after her ex-partner subjected her to a vicious attack which left her suffering from PTSD.

Victoria McNulty, 50, a pharmacist and mother-of-three, had endured months of coercive control and abuse at the hands of her partner, Garry Hazlett, before their relationship ended in May 2021. Six months later, he put on a balaclava and broke into her house where he punched and kicked her before repeatedly stomping on her head.

Convicted of domestic abuse and assault and robbery in August, 2023, Hazlett was jailed for 15 months. A few months later, appeal court judges ruled the sentence was too lenient, and increased it to four and a half years.

Now McNulty has gone public in an attempt to warn other women that domestic abuse can happen to anyone, to show how courts continue to re-traumatise victims, and to highlight the support she received from Women’s Aid.

READ MORE: Vicious attack ruined my life: now I'm fighting back' says domestic abuse survivor

'She told the Herald on Sunday how - at first - Hazlett praised her and made her feel good about herself, but later became controlling. “He’d tell me what chores needed done each day  and he alienated me from my friends and family,” she said.

During the attack itself, she feared she would die and fought to secure some DNA, which would help prove her attacker’s identity. Later, that DNA was matched to Hazlett.

McNulty told The Herald on Sunday the trial had proved stressful. Though she was allowed to give evidence by video link, she had encountered Hazlett in the court building which felt intimidating. She said communication with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Office had been patchy and that his sentence still felt inadequate.

McNulty has been left with cognitive difficulties which prevent her working. “Garry ruined the life I had professionally, mentally, socially and financially,” she said. “He will be eligible for parole after half his sentence - twenty seven months for taking away all that is hard to swallow.”