'˜Controlling' Hartlepool dad cleared of coercion charge - because his victim coped too well
A father who trained a toddler to swear at his mother was cleared of using coercive and controlling behaviour against her - because she had shown herself to be a 'strong and capable woman'.
Paul Measor was branded ‘a disgrace’ by the judge and jailed for five months for assault.
Measor, 35, of Elizabeth Way, Hartlepool, had denied engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour and two charges of assault.
District Judge Helen Cousins found him not guilty of the coercive behaviour offence, saying it was new law, but guilty of the two assaults.
She said: “I have to be satisfied the behaviour was controlling, coercive, and it had a serious effect on the victim.
“There’s no doubt the victim is a strong and capable woman, whose evidence was truthful.
“She has since successfully removed herself from the harmful situation.
“It is to her credit that I cannot find Mr Measor’s behaviour had a serious effect on her in the context of the guidelines for this offence.
“Anyone hearing the recordings can be in no doubt Mr Measor’s behaviour was disgraceful.”
Danielle Chadwick, service manager with Hartlepool-based anti-domestic violence group Harbour, said: “We should never judge how victims cope with such abuse, as what we see on the surface may not reflect how that individual is really feeling.
“We know how difficult it is to gather evidence to support a case of coercive control, as it requires proof of events which are rarely witnessed and don’t usually leave a visible mark.
“We want victims to feel able to come forward if they are experiencing this kind of abuse.
“No one should feel trapped by someone limiting their independence and regulating their behaviour.”
The hearing at Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard the woman recorded the verbal abuse by Measor on her mobile phone.
She told the court Measor trained her toddler to swear at her, and tracked her movements whenever she went out.
She said: “I had to have an app on my phone so he could see where I was. When I was at work I had to send Snapchats to him to prove I was there.”
The court heard the couple were in an on/off relationship for several years after meeting via Facebook.
Measor became more controlling after they moved in together.
She added: “He didn’t like me seeing my friends. After a while I stopped contacting them because I knew it would lead to arguments.
“He knew the password on my phone, and would look at my social media.”
The woman told the court she recorded some arguments with Measor on her phone because she knew people wouldn’t believe her without evidence.
Brett Wildridge, for Measor, said he was of previous good character.
“He is in work,” added Mr Wildridge. “He accepts the relationship is over. Mr Measor also enjoys the support of his family.”
Jailing Measor for five months, Judge Cousins told him: “I am sentencing you for the common assaults, not for anything in relation to the child.”
Measor was made the subject of a restraining order banning him from contacting the woman for five years.