An Albury woman was so fearful of her possessive boyfriend that she used a visit to the mail box to flee for help, a court has heard.
The woman had only just been assaulted by Troy John Stacey in her home.
The attack, on September 23, came just after Stacey repeatedly belittled the victim.
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"You don't deserve to be loved," he told her after she woke about 7.30am. "You're an awful person."
Stacey slumped back in his chair after pleading guilty in Albury Local Court this week to a domestic violence-related charge of common assault and stalk or intimidate.
His only reaction to the proceedings, after magistrate Rodney Brender ordered a sentence assessment report, was to turn his head sideways to stare at the victim before walking out of court.
The court was told that Stacey and the woman had been in "an intimate relationship" for about three months.
Police said Stacey's remarks to the victim "caused her to feel sad" and so she tried to ignore him.
Stacey then tried to console her by approaching for a hug.
"You know I would never hurt you," he said.
But the victim was having none of it, firing back: "Leave me alone."
She went to a cupboard to get shoes, as she wanted to go outside to "get some fresh air".
Police said Stacey walked up behind the woman, who was crouching over in front of the cupboard, and grabbed her in a bear-hug, then dragged her away.
The victim, who suffers from claustrophobia, immediately felt uncomfortable so she began to struggle to release herself from Stacey's grip while calling for help.
But Stacey instead put his hand over her face with enough force that she struggled to breathe.
She "played limp" to get Stacey to release his grip, a tactic she had used many times before, police said.
When Stacey later climbed some stairs to close the front door of her unit the woman went to the mail box, beginning to run and calling for help when she saw some people nearby.
Stacey will be sentenced on January 15.