NORRISTOWN — Choking back tears, a Lansdale woman testified she believed she was going to die as her onetime paramour, a former Upper Gwynedd Township police officer, strangled her, impairing her ability to breath, during a violent domestic assault.

“At this point, I looked up and thought, ‘God, this is when I’m going to die’ because I couldn’t breathe or talk any longer. I accepted this because of my faith…All I could see was white kaleidoscope with black dots. I was begging him to let me go until I could not talk or breathe,” the woman recalled during emotional testimony on Thursday in Montgomery County Court.

Judge Gary S. Silow called the woman’s testimony “compelling,” adding he was moved by the woman’s strength as she faced her attacker in court.

“You absolutely scared her to death. I don’t know what got into you, why people like yourself become monsters to do this to someone,” Silow addressed Edward J. Robinson Jr., who previously worked 20 years as an Upper Gwynedd police officer.

Silow sentenced Robinson, 54, formerly of the 200 block of South Line Street, to 2 to 5 years in state prison on charges of strangulation and unlawful restraint in connection with the Feb. 15, 2019, incident at the Lansdale residence. With a consecutive five years of probation, Robinson will be under court supervision for a total of 10 years.

Silow said Robinson also must undergo a mental health evaluation and he ordered Robinson to have no contact with the victim.

The sentence was part of a plea agreement reached between prosecutors and Robinson. Before Silow would accept the agreement, he asked the victim if she supported it and was satisfied with the outcome.

“I am, your honor,” the woman tearfully told the judge.

“This is very compelling testimony. I’m very moved by what you said. I’m very impressed by your strength,” Silow addressed the woman. “To do what you’re doing today is very impressive and very moving.”

Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Beeson sought a state prison term against Robinson.

“It was a tragically textbook case of domestic violence. It was a case that required a sentence, when looked back upon, would show how serious this case was. The assault was very violent. He was strangling her while also putting his thumb into her eye,” Beeson said.

“There was no question as to how serious this was and how he knew exactly what he was doing. He was a police officer for 20 years. He was familiar with domestic violence and the pain that he was causing this victim,” Beeson added.

Robinson, who pleaded guilty to the charges, apologized for his conduct before the judge imposed the punishment. Robinson, who was represented by defense lawyer Jeffrey Allen Sigman, did not comment about the charges as sheriff’s deputies escorted him from the courtroom in handcuffs to begin serving the stint behind bars.

An investigation began about 8:06 p.m. Feb. 15, when Lansdale police were dispatched to Robinson’s residence for a report of a “physical domestic in progress.” Arriving officers found the victim outside the residence “holding a wash cloth to her face with blood running down her face and neck from her right eye,” according to the criminal complaint filed by Lansdale Police Officer Amanda North. The victim was “hysterically crying and kept saying ‘he put his thumb in my eye,’” North alleged.

Police alleged the assault occurred when the woman threatened to end her relationship with Robinson.

The woman testified Robinson became “enraged,” pinned her down on a bed, “leaving me defenseless,” grabbed her by the throat and choked her with one hand while pressing a finger into her right eye.

“The pain and weight in my right eye was so bad that I couldn’t see and I didn’t know if my eye was intact,” the woman testified.

The woman eventually broke free of Robinson’s grasp and called 911 despite Robinson’s attempts to prevent her from dialing the phone, according to testimony and court papers.

The woman claimed there were previous incidents of domestic abuse that caused her to feel “emotionally and physically ill.”

Robinson was no longer working as a police officer at the time of the assault.

But the woman told the judge Robinson used his experience as a police officer to intimidate her and she feared going through the court system due to his “connections and experience.”

“When you’re a police officer for two decades…you’re a person who is trusted in the community to take care of people and protect people and uphold the law. In this case, he violently assaulted a woman…and it makes it a more aggravated set of facts when you have a person that’s a police officer and they do this to another person, commit a crime of domestic violence,” Beeson said.

During a dramatic moment, the woman turned to Robinson, looked him in the eye, and asked, “Why?”

The woman, who testified she still has some residual pain in her eye, thanked counselors at Laurel House, the agency that supports domestic violence victims.

“If it wasn’t for Laurel House I wouldn’t have made it,” the woman said, adding she wants to devote her future to “being a voice for others suffering from domestic violence.”

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