A Halifax man has been jailed for taking complete control of a woman’s life including taking over her finances and refusing to let his victim wash herself.
Graham O’Shea is beginning a four year prison sentence after being the first person in West Yorkshire to be charged and convicted for the offence of controlling and coercive behaviour.
The forty-two-year old was found guilty by a jury at Bradford Crown Court and given a life-long restraining order against the victim, her father, sister and refused access to areas of Halifax.
O’Shea, from the Mixenden area of Halifax began a relationship with the victim after meeting in a pub in March 2016.
He promptly told people that they were in a relationship, and proceeded to help the victim move house following the end of a previous abusive relationship.
O’Shea quickly moved himself in to her new home, and took control of every aspect of her life including her finances.
He took her bank cards and gave her an allowance of £10 per week. He refused to let the victim wash herself, or her clothing and refused to let her visit her family. He escorted her to and from the bus stop when she went to work and regularly accused her of infidelity.
O’Shea intensively instructed the victim to learn the game of chess, before selecting a piece and telling her that if it was the last one left on the board she would be leaving in a black box.
He also physically assaulted her on two occasions and insisted on sexual intercourse daily.
The victim, who gave her evidence by video link, told the court that she lived in fear and was petrified of O’Shea. She planned her escape on May 21, when she told him she was going to work, but instead went to her father’s address and contacted the police.
The offence of controlling and coercive behaviour is part of the Serious Crime Act 2015, and went live in December 2015.
Detective Chief Inspector Ed Chesters of Calderdale District Police said; “I hope that this conviction demonstrates our commitment to victims of these types of offences, and that when things are reported our officers will do everything in their power to bring offenders to justice.
“I would also like to praise the bravery and courage shown by the victim in this case, in not only finding the strength to come forward, but in giving her evidence in court. I hope that the conviction goes some way to bringing her some closure, and that she can move on with her life.
“Domestic abuse is an offence which can have severe emotional and physical effects on its victims and we want those suffering or at risk of suffering to know that safeguarding professionals are better equipped than ever to provide help, advice, support and that officers will make every effort to prosecute those responsible.
“Some victims suffer controlling and coercive behaviour for a long time with their partners behaviour gradually getting worse and eventually ending in violence.
“We have specially trained officers working across the Force in our specialist safeguarding units who take all reports seriously, deal with them sensitively and do everything possible to safeguard those who are vulnerable.
“If you have been a victim, or witnessed domestic abuse and do not wish to speak to the police, please call the 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
“You can report domestic abuse by calling 101 and asking to speak to your local Safeguarding Unit. If a crime is ongoing, and there is a threat to life always call 999.”
For more information on domestic abuse, including ways to report and support agencies on our website – www.westyorkshire.police.uk/domesticabuse