horrific abuse | 

Violent mum soiled floor and made her husband clean it up, court hears

‘This is the worst case of controlling and coercive behaviour I have seen’

Sheree Spencer

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A violent and abusive Yorkshire mum, who could drink three bottles of wine a day assaulted, taunted and abused her husband for 20 years, a court has heard.

Heavy drinker Sheree Spencer punched, kicked, slapped and bit her husband that left him in fear and despair and feeling trapped.

During persistent "nasty" attacks, she hit him with a wine bottle, leaving him with a "cauliflower" ear and a chipped elbow, Hull Crown Court heard.

Spencer (45) of Beals Close, Market Weighton in East Yorkshire, admitted coercive and controlling behaviour between January 2016 and June 2021.

She also admitted to three offences of assaulting her husband, causing actual bodily harm, between January and April 2020.

They had been together as a couple since the year 2000 and lived in Bubwith, near Selby and had three young children.

Her behaviour had changed while the couple were living in London and she became aggressive, pushing and slapping him.

Spencer's violent behaviour towards her husband was only revealed after the police were alerted.

Michele Stuart-Lofthouse, prosecuting, said that during one incident, Spencer spat at her husband and grabbed him by the throat, giving him breathing difficulties.

She hit him on the back of the head with a wine glass that left him needing stitches.

The assaults including kicking, punching, hitting, biting and spitting at him while she also regularly hurled insults at him. She damaged his property, including laptops, phones, clothes and household items.

During one attack she caused him a disfigured ear with a wine bottle and a chipped elbow with one neighbour saying they regularly heard abusive language from Spencer towards him.

She was heard saying: "You're not a f***ing man. I want you out of my life." In one incident, she damaged a tyre on his car using a kitchen knife, she lunged at him with the knife, causing a 2cm cut below his knee.

Spencer's "unpredictable and threatening" behaviour caused her husband to become estranged from his family.

The husband handed over 43 photographs of injuries, 36 video clips and nine mobile phone recordings to the police.

in a statement that he read to the court her husband said he had suffered 20 years of physical and mental abuse.

He feared that he would never fully recover from the abuse and he felt that he had to hide it from friends and family.

He complied with her demands and she controlled all aspects of his daily life, including which room he could sleep in and which toilet he could use.

"She threatened to make false allegations to me to the police," he said.

He felt "trapped" and he "feared the consequences of speaking out" and became "increasingly hardened" to the abuse.

Spencer's husband said that, after she was arrested, the problems continued during Family Court hearings through her claiming that she was the victim and by using character assassination against him.

He had to defend himself against allegations. "She continued to exert her control over me," he said. She was "unnecessarily obstructive" and it was three months before she would allow the family home to be sold.

"I have had to seek help from my GP on several occasions," said the husband. His emotional wellbeing had deteriorated.

Defence barrister Richard Pratt KC said that there was "little if anything" that could be said in mitigation. "It's a shocking, distressing case," said Mr Pratt.

"Alcohol played the most significant part in what happened."

A mixture of alcohol and her prescription medication caused her to behave in a way which "appalled" her and she accepted she had caused pain and humiliation to her husband.

What happened was dreadful," said Mr Pratt. The offences were prolonged over a long period of time. It was an irony that Spencer had, during her job with the Ministry of Justice, been working on a project connected with the impact of custodial sentences on families.

Judge Kate Rayfield told Spencer: “This is the worst case of controlling and coercive behaviour I have seen.”

She described how she had sat through two hours of video and audio recordings of Spencer hurling hateful abuse at her husband.

Judge Rayfield said: “In one of these recordings it is clear you had defecated on the floor. Your husband can be heard scrubbing while you are heard to say to him: 'I made you do that, all I asked you to do was go to the shop.

“I watched as you spat in his face time and time again and called him 'bitch, tiny c*** and skank and insulted members of his family.

“You whispered in his face in the most sinister way, shouted demands and instructions at him - 'Get the f***ing chicken on, get to the f***ing shop' and warning him 'you will learn’.”

The judge added: “By your actions you intended to humiliate or degrade Richard and you have caused him significant psychological harm.

“Richard Spencer was a vulnerable victim, isolated from his family and trapped financially.'

Spencer admitted coercive and controlling behaviour and three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The charges could only cover a five year period dating from the time the law on controlling and coercive behaviour was passed in late 2015.

But Judge Rayfield said she took account of her persistent behaviour towards her husband because it cast light on his vulnerability as her victim.

Spencer could be heard sobbing as she was led away to the cells to begin her four year term.

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