A cocaine-addicted thug sobbed as a court heard shocking details of how he made his girlfriend’s life a misery during an abusive seven-year relationship where he regularly assaulted and humiliated her.
Stephen Crook left his battered partner ‘always waiting for the next assault’ during a vile campaign of ‘consistent abuse’, a judge told him moments before sending him to prison. The 32-year-old would punch, kick and spit at his victim.
A court heard much of the abuse centered around Crooks’ demands for cash for cocaine or to pay off drug debts. He even threatened to ‘chop off her head from her and put it in a box’.
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The woman met Crook, of Exeter Street, St Helens, when she was 17 and he was 23. Nardeen Nemat, prosecuting, said he first became abusive after she mentioned bumping into an ex-boyfriend, the Liverpool Echo reports.
The victim described how he was ‘physically and verbally abusive’. Ms Nemat said: “He wouldn’t allow her to shower or go to the toilet alone and he would stand outside the door.”
The woman wasn’t allowed friends or to have contact with family. When he did let her visit her mum de ella, she had to FaceTime him to prove where she was de ella. And he didn’t let her use social media. Ms Nemat said he would punch and headbutt walls and doors, scream at her, squeeze her face and threaten her.
In June 2017, I received a community order for battery against the woman. Ms Nemat said that involving him hitting her head against a wall, punching her to the side of the head causing her to fall to the floor, then jumping on her, threatening to set her on fire, strangling her until she lost consciousness and suffered a fit, and Crook threatening her with a knife to the throat.
Ms Nemat told Liverpool Crown Court the woman ended the relationship in early 2020 and moved in with her mum, but Crook constantly rang her, turned up at the address and threatened to kill himself if they didn’t get back together. After a period of him behaving normally, their relationship resumed, until he went to prison in September 2020.
After his release that December, the woman took him back but he started attacking her again and, in October 2021, she told him she was leaving him. Ms Nemat said: “He said he would chop off her head from her and put it in a box.”
The court heard he would grab her throat and drag her around. Crook warned if she went to the police ‘he would make it his duty to find her and kill her’.
On February 21, when she didn’t answer his demands for money for cocaine, he threw a cupboard door that had come off its hinges at her and hurled a mobile phone at her hip. Ms Nemat said: “He put her hands around her throat and squeezed her neck. He continued until her nose began to bleed.”
Crook stopped and said ‘sorry’ but the victim was ‘terrified’. She left her home but he contacted her around 300 times and threatened to kill himself if he went to jail.
He was arrested and interviewed, when he said the allegations were ‘rubbish’ and malicious, and that she was the aggressor. Crook later admitted controlling and coercive behavior between 2015 and 2022 and assault causing actual bodily harm over the February 21 attack.
The court heard he has six previous convictions for eleven offenses and was last sentenced for four counts of battery and threatening behavior in September 2020, when he was jailed for 14 weeks.
Ms Nemat said the prison sentence concerned an incident outside a primary school. Parents told Crook to leave because he was under the influence, but he tried to spit at one parent and punched another in the head.
The court heard him and his father had written letters to the court. Ben Jones, defending, said: “There is absolutely no attempt to victim blame here.
“The defendant particularly disavows the content of his police interview. He’s written that letter when sober and free of the influence of cocaine and recognizes the problems he has.”
He added: “The defendant seeks to emphasize that when sober he is utterly ashamed of his behaviour. He realizes that condign punishment must follow.”
Mr Jones said, during ten weeks spent on remand, Crook had accepted he needed help to address his cocaine addiction and what lay behind it ‘not just for his own sake, but for the sake of any future partner’. Both he and his victim of him referred to a ‘childhood trauma’ that led to his drug use of him.
Recorder Michelle Brown said the couple’s near ten-year relationship had ‘descended into violence’ where the woman was ‘persistently and consistently abused’. She said the victim was ‘isolated’, had to lie and make up stories to explain away bruises, and described ‘feeling like a prisoner in her own home’.
Recorder Brown said: “She lived her life on edge. She was always waiting for the next assault.”
Jailing him for two years and three months, the judge said: “You say you’re utterly ashamed and so you should be.” Recorder Brown made a five-year restraining order. Crook cried as he was sent down.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.