A man from Whitstable has been jailed for more than five years after subjecting a woman and a teenager to years of abuse.
John Richards admitted to two counts of coercive and controlling behaviour and actual bodily harm in court.
The court heard how Richards, 48, had regularly exposed a woman to harmful and degrading behaviour, which she was too terrified to report to the police. It included controlling the woman’s life, speaking to her in a derogatory way, telling her how to act, who to speak to, how to behave and distancing her from her own family for a number of years.
The woman described how Richard’s behaviour would worsen when he drank and she was living in fear, always trying to pre-empt his reaction to everyday things, making sure she was adjusting her behaviour to prevent any outbursts. The victim had become so used to the emotional abuse that it felt like normal behaviour and she found it too difficult to report it to the police, impacted by fear and guilt.
Thankfully we have the power to protect people who are subjected to threats, humiliation and intimidation as well as physical abuse
On one occasion she left his dinner warming in the oven and when he came home he claimed it was dried out and hit her in the face with it. His abusive behaviour was also directed towards a teenage girl and on one occasion he left a number of vicious messages on her phone where he also made threats to harm a family member.
In 2022 the victims came forward to Kent Police and reported his behaviour. Following his arrest in September, Richards was charged and later pleaded guilty to the offences. He was sentenced to five years and six months in prison at Canterbury Crown Court on Tuesday 13th June 2023.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Jess Meadway, said ‘Both victims in this case have been incredibly brave to come forward and we know how hard it is to take that step. This abuse has had a profound effect on them but hopefully they can start to rebuild their lives’.
There are now more ways than ever to report domestic abuse, this includes the Police force’s Rapid Video Response system, which means victims can opt for an immediate video call with an officer where there are no immediate risks of harm. Last year, 1,732 victims of domestic abuse used this service and spoke to an officer immediately face-to-face after calling police.