A man from Watford has been jailed for coercive and controlling behaviour, following an investigation by Bedford Police’s Emerald team.
At Luton Crown Court on Thursday, May 20, Aqial Rathore, 44, of no fixed address, was found guilty and sentenced to serve 25 months in jail, with a further three months to serve for assault by beating.
He also received an indefinite restraining order, to further protect the victim.
Rathore was also found guilty of a number of unrelated offences, including possession of an offensive weapon, drug driving, cannabis possession and common assault, bringing his total sentence to 38 months.
Officers attended an address in Catherall Road, Luton, on September 24, responding to a report of a concern for welfare, and found Rathore involved in a violent altercation with his partner, which had begun as an argument and escalated after she had asked him to leave her alone.
Rathore was verbally abusive initially, but then pushed her onto the bed and restrained her, threatening her with further violence as he held her head in the bathtub.
The investigation which followed uncovered a six-month relationship marred by Rathore’s controlling and abusive behaviour, which left his partner in fear for her life.
He regularly verbally abused her, calling her names, and telling her what to wear. He was jealous of the time she spent talking to her family and took her mobile phone. He prevented her from leaving the house and she was forced to eat alone in a bedroom.
In an impact statement to the court, she said: “He makes me feel scared and panicky all the time. I am scared for my life. I’m affected by this relationship, as I lose sleep.
“I don’t get to see my family when I’m with him, and if I go to my sister’s, he calls me every hour until I am home. He drops me off and picks me up.
“He controls everything I do. I have asked to go to college and he has stopped me from bettering myself. If it wasn’t for someone calling the police, I believe he would have killed me.”
Detective Constable Leila Dales, from the Emerald team, said: “Coercive control can be subtle; a victim may not recognise the behaviour as domestic abuse, and what is happening isn’t always obvious to those outside the relationship. The desire to control often underpins abusive relationships and here we have seen it escalate into physical abuse.
“Rathore’s behaviour substantially affected the victim’s day-to-day activities, to the point where her family could not comfortably visit her at home, and has also had a significant effect upon her health and wellbeing.
“We are now working to provide support to help her on her path to recovery.”
If you are concerned about someone, or feel you are in a controlling relationship, support is available.
Contact police on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency, or if someone is in immediate danger.
Alternatively, you can contact the 24-hour National Domestic Violence helpline on 0808 2000 247.