sinister threats | 

Thug who throttled his Irish girlfriend and forced her into prostitution is jailed

On one occasion he said 'Go back to Ireland or I will kill you'
Ashley Barrett, from Rochdale, was jailed for a total of 31 months

Ashley Barrett, from Rochdale, was jailed for a total of 31 months

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

An Irish woman who became a sex worker when her boyfriend demanded she raise money to fund his drug addiction only agreed to do it “for a peaceful life”, a court has heard.

Ashley Barrett (33) repeatedly throttled and humiliated his girlfriend who lives in Rochdale, Greater Manchester but is originally from Tullamore, Co Offaly, on such a regular basis during their toxic year long affair she said the attacks ended up being “like a blur”.

He condemned her to work as a call girl so she could help feed his ‘‘demonic” cocaine habit but whenever she did not make money, Barrett assaulted her, calling her a “fat slag” and a “dirty prostitute” and saying he hoped she would get cancer.

On one occasion he said “Go back to Ireland or I will kill you”.

He also made a threat to have her “chopped up”.

Prosecutor David Toal said: ‘‘Since July 2020, the complainant has been working as a ­prostitute in part to fund the defendant’s drug habit.

"She also did it to enable her to have a more peaceful life but the defendant assaulted her when she did not make enough money.

“He accepts the controlling and coercive behaviour towards (her).

"He accepts she had been working as a prostitute and he accepts he encouraged her to work to fund his drug habit.”

Barrett had ten previous offences including battery in 2016 and 2017 involving a previous partner.

His counsel Martin Sharpe said in mitigation: ‘‘He has many demons, those demons being drunk and drugs. He has poor mental health, psychological and family problems.

"He self-medicated with cocaine and alcohol and it is impossible for anyone to have a relationship with him in those ­circumstances. He does not wish to have anything to do with the complainant anymore.”

Sentencing Barrett, the judge Mr Recorder Jeremy Lasker told him: “(This) clearly is a woman who is a very vulnerable person and you appear to have an aggressive character.

“You have a rather mean outlook towards female partners and cannot resist resorting to violence. She worked the streets and you admit some or all of that money went to fund your habit.

“When it suited you were happy to take her earnings and when it did not, you demeaned her. You were violent when she did not bring any money back and she was frightened of you when you said you would ‘chop her up’. She wanted to end the ­relationship and eventually phoned police.”

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Barrett, from Rochdale was jailed for a total of 31 months after he pleaded guilty to engaging in controlling and coercive ­behaviour.

In a statement the divorced former supermarket worker sad she felt “ frightened, depressed and embarrassed by what I have done".

‘‘But I think given the chance, I fear he will kill me and he needs help. He scares me so much, I do not know what he is capable of.”

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