A Fine Arts graduate has become the first woman to be convicted of ‘coercive control’ since the offence was created.
The 22 year, from Hertfordshire, was arrested days after her boyfriend was taken to hospital with extensive scalding injuries after she had thrown boiling water over him. Neighbours had reported regular disturbances, the sound of objects being thrown and shouting at the couple’s home in Bedfordshire. Her partner was seen on different occasions with black eyes, a limp and his arm in a sling, The Telegraph reports.
Neighbours reported hearing her boyfriend shouting “Get off me, you are hurting me!” and “Get off me, get off my head, don’t keep doing that to my head!”
Her boyfriend suffered from hydrocephalus, a condition causing an abnormal build-up of fluid in the brain, which left him physically vulnerable.
During the course of her trial at Luton Crown Court , it emerged that the aspiring teacher had also routinely belittled him, taken over his Facebook account and insisted that he only wear certain clothes, break off contact with friends and family and sleep in a separate bed for months at a time.
The Serious Crime Act 2015 made non-physical abuse of a partner – threats, intimidation, excessive interference – a potential crime for the first time. It came into force at the end of 2015, and the following April a 21 year-old man became one of the first in the UK to be convicted.
The Hertfordshire woman received a hefty seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to wounding with intent, grievous bodily harm with intent and controlling or coercive behaviour.
His Honour Judge Madge explained:
“She accepts that she has in the past, on a number of occasions, used blunt objects and implements to strike him and that he suffered injuries as a result of her doing so. She accepts using boiling or hot water to cause injury to him. She accepts that she has in the past used a knife to cause injury to her partner.”
The Court also imposed a restraining order forbidding her from contacting her ex-partner.