Peaky Blinders extra avoids jail despite battering women he met online

A violent Peaky Blinders extra who wooed victims with grand romantic gestures has dodged jail again after ‘changing his name online’.

Oliver Cox, 33, met women on sites such as Plenty of Fish but his charming persona would change in favour of terrifying attacks that left some victims needing restraining orders to keep him away.

Cox allegedly concocted an elaborate web of deceit around his victims – claiming to be an actor, a boxer, a CBD oil company owner and even posing as one of the women’s jealous exes online.

One of his victims was taken to France on the promise they were invited on a game show only for it to be cancelled when the host, who was apparently Cox making a fake profile, mysteriously ‘died’.

Despite pleading guilty last month to assault occasioning actual bodily harm after attacking single mum Lyndsey Yarwood, 35, he was only given an 18-week suspended sentence.

Lyndsey had looked up his past using Clare’s Law before the attack but claims she was told there was nothing of concern – Wiltshire Police are now conducting an internal investigation to establish why.

She believes Cox slipped through the net because he changed his name by deed poll – calling himself Bart Milben, Darren Berry and other variations.

Days before attacking Lyndsey, the brute had even shared a post on Facebook praising Clare’s Law as something that not only helps women but can ‘defend men who have been labelled’.

Less than a year before, Cox had been convicted of assaulting former girlfriend Rosie Benson, 31, on Christmas Day 2017 – for which he was bailed and handed a community order.

Weeks before attacking Lyndsey, the thug had been instructed by cops to cease contact with another ex, Jen Atherton after harassing her when she refused to post pictures on Instagram of flowers he’d bought her.

Just months before meeting Jen, 28, last year, he’d also pleaded guilty to attacking another woman in Newcastle while on a night-out – but walked free after paying a £600 fine.

His campaign of violence stretches back a decade, after he was convicted of headbutting a man in 2009 who reportedly tried to stop him attacking another ex.

With Cox still on the streets, Lyndsey, Rosie and Jen are speaking out to warn other women so that he doesn’t do it again to ‘some other poor girl’.

Cox admitted to changing his name by deed poll to Bartholomew Milben and blamed his behaviour on his use of steroids but claimed he was ‘not a monster’.

Mum-of-two Lyndsey dated Cox between August and December 2018 and thought he was her dream man after bombarding her with romantic gestures.

But within just four months, their whirlwind relationship and engagement was over.

Lyndsey, from Melksham, Wiltshire, said: "He was everything you see in rom-coms: rose-petal baths, cooking dinner, brilliant with the kids. And so believable – the lies and everything.

“It’s mad. No wonder women don’t go through with pressing charges for domestic violence.

"He was given a two-year restraining order, but there’s nothing to stop him standing outside my house as long as he doesn’t contact me."

Hairdresser Lyndsey met Cox on dating website Plenty of Fish at the beginning of 2018 and the pair chatted online for almost five months.

They made plans to meet up, but Lyndsey was too nervous to go through with it, until one day, when she had just arrived back from a holiday, he was waiting in the arrivals hall to surprise her.

Lyndsey said: “When we were chatting initially, he seemed really nice.

"We arranged to meet a few times but I chickened out because I was nervous.

"We eventually met on 17 August last year. We’d talked loads that week because I was on holiday in Gran Canaria.

"He actually turned up at Bristol Airport to surprise me when I got home.

"The next day at work he sent me a big bunch of flowers and he came to meet me at mine. He never left.”

Just over a month after meeting face-to-face, the loved-up pair went on a day trip to London.

In an unexpected turn, Cox proposed while they were on the Southbank Starflyer ride.

Lyndsey said: "We went on this swing ride and while up in the air he proposed to me.

"I was really shocked, it was absolutely crazy, but I said yes because I really, really liked him.

“I was caught up in the moment. Everything was great then."

But their newly-engaged bliss quickly soured.

Lyndsey said: "One day my ex, or so Ollie said, started messaging him on social media, threatening him, threatening me.

“I had panic attacks, but Ollie was sticking up for me by sending him messages back.

"I later found out he was messaging himself via a fake account. He’d set up a fake account just to show me – it was like trauma bonding.

"We then had an engagement party. I did have a brilliant time at the party. I had a girls’ night out, basically.

"We went back home and I woke up in the middle of night with him right next to my face.

"His face had changed. He looked so angry and frightening.

"He grabbed my wrist and started accusing me of cheating on him.

"He was going through my phone calling me a slag and his voice had changed.

"He made me go downstairs where he went absolutely mental and smashed up his phone. I went to bed sobbing.

"The next morning he was making out he couldn’t remember anything about it.

"He said ‘oh my god, I’m so sorry’. I believed that he just didn’t remember.

"That was the first instance that frightened me."

During a night out for his birthday in December 2018, the couple began rowing and Cox became furious, claiming Lydnsey had ‘ruined his birthday’.

Back at the hotel, Cox grabbed Lyndsey and attacked her, leaving her with two black eyes and bruises to her body.

She claims he bought her a cold pack of bacon to put on her face to try to help the bruising.

The next day, Lyndsey decided enough was enough and fled Cox, returning to her mum’s.

Lyndsey is furious that after a warning from his ex that he had a history, her request for information on his background from police using Clare’s Law failed her.

Lyndsey said: "I’ve no idea why he didn’t come up on Clare’s Law. He managed to get through somehow.

"The amount of phone calls I had to make was unbelievable.

"I think with Claire’s Law, every single recorded name needs to be linked to the same person.

"It costs £36 [or less] to change your name by deed poll. There needs to be a register for offenders that people can just go on."

Now, she is urging women to think with their heads, not their hearts, when it comes to domestic violence.

Lyndsey said: "The hardest thing for women in this situation is you think with your heart.

“I just pray the next victim doesn’t fall for his conman ways his sob stories. I hope enough people see his face and see what he’s capable of."

The year before attacking Lyndsey, Cox was found guilty of assault by beating and given 100 hours of community service and a restraining order preventing him from contacting ex-girlfriend Rosie Benson.

Rosie met Cox on Facebook in 2016 but after dating him for 18 months they broke up – however she says he continued to turn up at her house.

She claims she would find him sleeping in her outside toilet building or in his car and he even faked seizures and pretended to have been attacked for sympathy.

When she allowed him into her house to have dinner and stay the night on Christmas Day 2016, Cox unleashed a vicious assault when she rejected his advances.

Rosie, from Bolton, Lancashire, said: "It’s been hell. The restraining order runs out in September this year.

"I’m worried he’ll just move again to a different area and do it again to another poor girl."

Cox said he was ‘mortified’ by what had happened but denied treating women badly – despite acknowledging the convictions.

He denied creating fake LinkedIn profiles to pose as the game show producers but admitted to having ‘a number of’ Facebook profiles under various names.

Cox said: "[I changed my name to Bartholomew] by deed poll.

"It was for a fresh start and a sign of a new me, but I did it at a time when I was very confused about myself and I didn’t have all my diagnoses.

"What happened that night [with Lyndsey] is disgusting and shouldn’t have happened. It ruined what could have been a brilliant relationship.

"I ain’t a monster. I’ve had some serious problems unfortunately, when I’ve had a drug addiction and took steroids.

"Unfortunately because I had a mental health problem you’re adding to a chemical imbalance in your brain.

"What I want to gain from this now is help women in this situation and also help males who have mental health [issues] and don’t know how to handle relationships.

"I’ve just looked at a women’s domestic abuse charity that I want to start doing things for.

"I’ve admitted my wrongs, I’m not hiding away from that and I want to do things to help other people in the future.

"I’m not condoning what happened that night with me and Lyndsey – I hate it. I’m mortified by it and I cry every day.

"I was incredibly surprised when I was released from jail.

"Since then, I’ve tried to make peace within myself. I have accepted responsibility for what has happened."

A spokesperson for Wiltshire Police said: "This case has been referred to our Professional Standards Department and a review is currently ongoing to determine what happened in this case and why a disclosure was not made.

"Due to this investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

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