Abuser who 'stubbed cigarettes out on girlfriend pretended to be Hollyoaks star'
A vile bully who stubbed cigarettes out on his girlfriend’s neck lived a fake life in which he pretended to be a successful soap actor, a court has heard.
Ryan Barr, aka Romeo Barr spat at the young student, kicked her, called her a slag hit their dog and made her watch, and on one occasion, poured bleach on her Liverpool Crown Court heard.
He became more and more controlling, forbidding her from seeing friends or attending university, monitoring her calls. Sometimes he would take her phone from her and smash it.
It was only after a final attack at a nightclub, when Barr spat at his victim and bit her jaw, that he was finally put in the dock, but he was spared jail after promising he had changed his ways.
Now he has been revealed to be a fantasist, who falsely claims to have appeared in TV shows including Hollyoaks, Coronation Street and Emmerdale.
Barr, 25, who lives with his gran in St Helens, Merseyside, amassed a following of 47,000 on Instagram and referred to his legion of fans as #barrhunters.
He’d made a fake profile on IMDB – the Internet Movie Database – listing his supposed roles in award winning dramas Shameless and This is England.
In 2014, St Helens Council even booked him for a Christmas Light Switch On, alongside the likes of The Lightning Seeds and Scouting for Girls.
On a website Barr explained how his time treading the boards with Maghull Musical Theatre Company (MMTC) helped shape his early career, starring in productions including Oliver Twist and Happy Families.
However a spokesman for MMTC confirmed the group had never performed Happy Families and that Barr wasn’t part of the children’s chorus during its last rendition of Oliver in 2006.
On his since-deleted Facebook and Instagram accounts, Barr posted about attending filming sessions at ITV studios and offered his fans a supposed cast sheet from an episode of Hollyoaks.
But a spokeswoman for Lime Pictures, the production company behind the soap, said they have ‘no record’ of Barr appearing on the show.
Barr was 22 and studying in Liverpool when he first met his victim in February 2018.
Liverpool Crown Court heard the relationship moved fast and Barr offered her a place to stay at his gran’s home, at which point it soon ‘deteriorated’ into a cycle of controlling and abusive behaviour.
The victim recalled Barr kicking her in the face as she bent to pick up a towel, after ice cold water was thrown over her while she took a shower.
When she became distressed, he said: ‘I don’t even feel bad for you crying.’
The woman described being hit with a hairbrush or remote control, having her hair pulled and him stubbing out cigarettes on her back or her neck when she was asleep.
She said it took days to remove the smell from her body after her tormentor doused her with bleach. The court heard how Barr would also hit the dog they shared and make her watch it.
His final attack came on July 4, 2018, when he spotted his victim at a nightclub. He spat at her and bit her jaw, leaving her with a ‘relatively minor’ injury.
He then followed the woman back to her university accommodation but was made to leave by security.
The court heard how Barr ‘made her take out a number of loans’ and after the relationship ended, ‘bombarded’ her with texts and calls, ‘some apologetic declaring his love for her, others abusive, using words regularly like slut’.
When interviewed by police in October 2018 and January 2019, Barr accepted arguing, but denied any physical or emotional abuse.
Barr, who admitted controlling and coercive behaviour, was previously convicted of common assault against the same victim.
He received a community order on May 17, 2018 and was then twice convicted of failing to comply with its requirements.
Raising concerns about Barr’s denial, Judge Andrew Menary, said: ‘It’s not a great start that on the face of it, he has comprehensively lied to the Probation Service.’
But defender Carmel Wilde said jailing him would ‘do nothing to address the risk of future offending’, adding that he has since been in a further relationship without any concerns.
Judge Menary accepted the defendant hadn’t offended since, was still young, was starting a new job with Amazon, pending a DBS check, and that his gran relied on his support.
The judge handed him 15 months in jail, suspended for 18 months, a 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and 150 hours of unpaid work.
He also ordered him to pay £500 in compensation to the victim and imposed a two-year restraining order.
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