AN AGGRESSIVE boyfriend’s controlling behaviour over two decades caused his partner to lose 14 stone in weight and fear for her life if she left him, a court heard.
Darren Gothard (53) was handed a community order at Sheffield Crown Court after his solicitor, Mr Robert Sandford, said any future partner would “best be protected” by him getting help.
During his 20-year relationship with the woman, Gothard, of Salisbury Road, Maltby, made her do all the cooking and cleaning even when she was ill, the court was told.
His behaviour caused her to suffer with depression and lose a large amount of weight, said prosecutor Mr Ian Goldsack, who added that Gothard had threatened to burn her house down if she left.
Gothard, who was convicted in 1994 for assaulting his ex-wife, was given an 18-month community order on August 30 after admitting coercive and controlling behaviour.
Judge Rachael Harrison was persuaded to spare Gothard jail after reading a letter from the victim — who we have chosen not to name — in which she said he needed help.
Mr Goldsack said Gothard and the victim had begun a relationship in around 1997 and started living together around ten years later after he moved into her Rotherham bungalow.
“Throughout the relationship, she would find Gothard to be demeaning towards her, commenting on her weight or mental health,” said Mr Goldsack.
“She suggests he was forceful and aggressive towards her on occasions throughout the relationship, particularly when he had drunk to excess, particularly whiskey.”
The victim told Gothard in 2015 that she no longer wanted to be in a relationship with him but they continued to live under the same roof in what was a “fairly uneasy truce”, said the prosecutor.
In July 2017, Gothard injured his then ex-partner while holding his arm out towards her “in a forceful way”, Mr Goldsack said.
When she returned to the property that October, having moved out, they argued over injuries to her cat.
Gothard injured her during a “confrontation” and dislodged an earring from her ear, Mr Goldsack said.
In a statement, the woman said that most of Gothard’s bad behaviour happened when he was drunk.
Mr Goldsack said: “She says he had very old-fashioned views about relationships between men and women but she was anxious he gets help with these two aspects rather than he lose his liberty.”
Gothard initially admitted engaging in controlling or coercive behaviour between December 2015 and November 2017, on the basis that he acknowledged causing his partner to fear violence on two occasions.
His sentence included up to 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement and 150 hours of unpaid work and he was also given a five-year restraining order against his victim.
Two further counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against the same victim were ordered to lie on file.