A Swindon man who threatened to burn down his girlfriend’s house and "wear her ears as a necklace" has been jailed. 

Zane Earney-Maslen’s campaign of abuse against his 16-year-old partner was such that she ended up in hospital having made an attempt on her life.

Swindon Crown Court was told the youngster, now 20, met his girlfriend in late 2017 when he was 18 and they were both studying at Swindon College.

In October that year he had messaged her, asking if she wanted to be his girlfriend. But just a day later he had pushed her in the chest as they attended a house party together in Rodbourne Cheney. 

Cracks had emerged in the relationship by December, when the woman suspected her new boyfriend had been messaging other women asking for explicit pictures. 

In January, he was said to have threatened to cut the girl’s face and wear her ears as a necklace. That month Swindon College staff intervened after they saw Earney-Maslen grabbing his girlfriend. That led to police charge him with assault and he was given a community order by magistrates later in the year.

On February 9, the couple travelled to stay at her cousin’s house in Gloucester. Three days later, Maslen was said to have subjected his partner to a terrifying assault. 

It began after she saw messages on her phone which she thought showed he had been messaging other women. They argued, with him pushing her then pulling her off a bed by her hair. He punched her and used his belt to beat her. When he saw her tears, Earney-Maslen told her: “Go on then, beg, cry, cower. I love it.”

He went on to threaten her with a kitchen knife, Swindon Crown Court was told, saying: “If you leave me I’ll slit your throat.” She shut herself in the bathroom, but he managed to force open the door and assaulted her again. 

The woman, who had visible injuries, agreed she would tell anyone who asked that two men had tried to rob her. 

She reported the abuse to her mum when she returned to the family home in Swindon on February 16. 

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Zane Earney-Maslen Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE


The couple met at Swindon College in late 2017.

October 2017: Earney-Maslen had messaged her, asking if she wanted to be his girlfriend. The following day they went to a house party in Bolingbroke Road, Rodbourne Cheney. He shoved her in the chest and shouted: “Get the f*** over there. You’re going to talk to me.” 

December 2017: The young woman suspected he was texting other woman asking them to send him explicit images of themselves. 

January 2018: She shared fears about him with her friends. He confronted her at college, grabbing her wrists. The assault was seen by reception staff at the college, who went to check on her. He was prosecuted at the magistrates’ court later that year for the assault. 

In the same month, the woman was said to have broken up with Earney-Maslen. But she renewed the relationship after he left a series of threatening messages, including threats to cut her face and wear her ears as a necklace.

January 30, 2018: as she waited at a bus stop near the college she texted her boyfriend saying the relationship was over. Prosecutor Mr Sedgewick said Earney-Maslen had responded with words to the effect of: “Not a f***ing chance.” He took her phone from her, with the mobile only handed back after their mothers intervened. 

February 9: The couple travelled to Gloucester to stay at her cousin’s home.

February 12: He is said to have assaulted her while they were alone in the cousin's house.

February 16: The girl returned to the family home in Swindon and told her mother what had been going on.

February 17: Her mum called Earney-Maslen, telling him he would not be able to contact her daughter. He threatened to “f*** her up” and find someone to rape her other daughters in front of his partner.

February 18: She files a police report.

'Worst day of my life'

In a victim statement, the girlfriend said the day of the attack in Gloucester was the worst of her life.

He had made her feel worthless and made her delete images of herself from Instagram and Facebook. She grew isolated from friends and felt she could only go to his house or college.

He told her when she could and couldn’t go to work, she claimed. He wouldn’t let her go if she had bruises or if the couple had argued. 

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Swindon College, where the couple met Picture: ADVER PHOTOGRAPHER


Earney-Maslen, formerly of Holbein Field, Grange Park, pleaded guilty to controlling and coercive behaviour and an offence under the Malicious Communications Act. A charge of making threats to kill was withdrawn after the judge allowed him to vacate an earlier guilty plea. 

Lucy Morell, defending, said her client had been young when he committed the offences. Although he had made comments to a probation officer last year that appeared to blame his victim for what happened, his attitudes had changed and he fully admitted the offences with which he had been charged. 

He had previously worked with the probation service to help manage his anger, which he had found helpful. 

He lived with his mother and two disabled siblings. He had been helping with their schooling during the coronavirus lockdown. He suffered from autism, ADHD and bi-polar disorder.

After an article was published about the case in The Sun newspaper last year his family had been a target of abuse, the court was told.

Ms Morell said: “The result of that [media attention] has been essentially everybody found out about what Mr Earney-Maslen has done. 

“As a result of that Mr Maslen’s whole family have received harassment and in fact was moved as an emergency by the council from one location to another for the family’s protection.” He had been left with one friend, who he had known since childhood, and now rarely went out.

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Swindon Crown Court

The barrister sought to persuade Judge Peter Crabtree to suspend any jail sentence, saying there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation. 

But the judge said the offences were too serious to justify anything other than immediate custody. “This was an offence over a number of months in which there was certainly on February 12 sustained and considerable violence.”

Earney-Maslen was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment. A restraining order bans him from contacting his former partner or her mother.

If you require support, call SWA (formerly Swindon Women's Aid) 24/7 on 01793 610610 or visit swadomesticabuse.org. In an emergency call police on 999.