James Disney-May has been given a three-month jail sentence for grievous bodily harm ©Getty Images

Former British Olympic swimmer James Disney-May has been handed a 21-month prison sentence for fracturing the skull of his fiancée, which left the woman permanently deaf in one ear and with facial injuries.

The domestic abuse arose from Disney-May arguing with his then-partner Eleanor Cooke over a rent bill worth £9,000 ($10,900/€10,200) at their south London apartment.

As reported by the Daily Express, the 30-year-old told Cooke to kill herself before dragging her from the edge of a balcony with enough force that she fractured her skull.

The injuries were believed to be unintentional as he pulled his partner over a glass balcony railing, leading to her head hitting the floor on July 1 this year.

It left Cooke with multiple facial fractures, two brain bleeds, bruising on the face, neck, and chin, and the permanent loss of hearing in her right ear, as heard in Kingston Crown Court.

Despite the fracture being unintentional, audio recorded by Cooke reveals Disney-May verbally abusing her and slapping her.

Cooke is said to have dangled herself over the balcony after being goaded by her partner to kill herself.

He admitted to grievous bodily harm last month and has since been sentenced to 21 months in prison, albeit with 18 of those months suspended - meaning he will only serve three months behind bars, assuming he does not break probation.

James Disney-May, second from left, was a two-time Commonwealth Games medallist in swimming ©Getty Images
James Disney-May, second from left, was a two-time Commonwealth Games medallist in swimming ©Getty Images

Prosecutor James Lofthouse said Disney-May had "a high opinion of himself" and would belittle his fiancée, threatening to leave her and calling her "lazy, stupid, disgusting and useless".

Despite having a high-paying job in London, the former swimmer - who competed at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the men's 400 metres freestyle relay - had racked up debts on the rent in the property owned by Cooke's parents.

He was said to be a frequent drinker and drug user in the months leading up to the incident.

Neighbours called the police after hearing the incident and when they arrived, Cooke was found lying on the bed with her hair covered in blood.

A restraining order has been put in place too against Disney-May and he was ordered to pay £2,000 ($2,400/€2,200) towards prosecution costs.

As an athlete, Disney-May was also a 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, having been a preliminary member of the winning men's 400m medley relay team, and also took bronze in the men's 400m freestyle relay.