Danielle Thomas suffered horrific injuries after also being attacked with mirrors and was forced to lick paint off the floor by thug Reece Thompson who was jailed in 2019 for the brutal assault.WARNING: CONTAINS IMAGES AND DETAILS SOME READERS MAY FIND DISTRESSING
Now mum of two Danielle, now 35, is now using her horrendous experiences to help others by launching a support group for victims of domestic abuse as well as a countryside retreat, despite being mentally and physically scarred in the vicious attack.
She said: “The whole experience was and has been very traumatic for me. I now struggle with complex PTSD and personality disorder.
“Having been through this experience, I don't wish for any other woman to suffer in silence or be subject to any form of domestic violence.
“I know how isolating, lonely, embarrassing and frightening it can feel.”
Danielle, of Bircotes, was left severely battered and bruised by footballer Thompson, who played for Retford United, Boston United and Guiseley AFC, and was a trainee at Lincoln City.
She has spoken out in a bid to help others and has set up a South Yorkshire campsite aimed at offering those in a similar situation a safe space and retreat.
In the sustained attack in September 2018, Thompson, 27, smashed her over the head with two mirrors, broke her jaw and struck her with an iron bar.
He was jailed for 40 months after he pleaded guilty to damaging property, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and inflicting grievous bodily harm when he appeared at Nottingham Crown Court in April 2019.
He was also handed a 10-year restraining order.
He was released in January 2020 but recalled to jail the following month after posting a number of inappropriate tweets in relation to his conviction and because he spoke about the case to a national news website.
In an interview with the Daily Mail she said: “I was in a relationship with who I thought was a great guy.
'Unfortunately not long into the relationship, violence and control started. To begin with he would check my phone and started discouraging me from going out to see friends and taking part in my hobbies.
'I used to do pole fitness and initially he would compliment me by saying things like I must have good upper body strength.
'It went from that to him saying all the women who do pole fitness were slags.
'Then one night, out of nowhere, I was sleeping and was woken up by him being on top of me, punching me and pulling my hair.
'He had been going through my phone and looking at old Facebook messages. He found a very old innocent message from another guy and this sparked his violent outburst.'
Danielle said that the violence and control continued most weeks after that point.
She said: 'I wanted to end the relationship but every time I tried it resulted in violence and I was told I could never leave or escape him. I felt trapped.
'My spirit was broken and I didn't know what to do.
'I believed this must have somehow been my fault and thought that this was now my life. I didn't think the police would take me seriously and I had no idea where to turn.'
Then on September 12, 2018, Thompson launched the attack that saw him jailed.
She said: 'He decided I needed to be taught a lesson. He locked me in my home for three days and tortured me.
'He repeatedly beat me, tipped paint all over me and made me lick it off the floor.
'He smashed mirrors over my head, rubbed glass into me and brutally beat me with an iron bar.
'I was left with a broken jaw, broken ribs and extreme bruising. He even made my daughter watch on the first night - it traumatised her.'
Danielle said concerns were raised by her children's father and a social worker visited the house.
They recognised she was in danger and took her to a safe house where she was able to escape her abuser and get help.
She said: 'Having received some amazing support and therapy, myself and my two daughters are very passionate about somehow making a difference to others affected by domestic violence.'
Danielle is fundraising for a project called The Dragonfly and Humming Bird which is a free campsite in South Yorkshire that offers a safe, relaxing, educational environment for domestic abuse survivors and their families.
She said: “I know how it feels to lose yourself to domestic violence.
"With this project our aim is to create a small, all inclusive camp site that offers a safe, relaxing, educational environment for domestic abuse survivors and their families.
"All the families will need to bring are their clothes. This will be a place where children can be children.
"Where they can explore, play and learn in the great outdoors. It will also be an opportunity for their parent/carer to create new connections and community, receive support and advice from professional volunteers and also have a well deserved break too.”
The site will accommodate five families per weekend and will run for 13 weeks from June - September.
She added: “We are currently looking for local businesses who can offer supportive services such as mindfulness, health, well being, mental health, holistic therapy & life coaching who would be willing to volunteer some time to support this project.”
You can help support the project or find out more information HERE