An abusive husband who subjected his wife to a ‘catalogue of cruelty’ has been jailed for more than two years.
David Andrew Rees, 52, pleaded guilty to coercive and controlling behavior in an intimate or family relationship and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He was sentenced at Minshull Street Crown Court.
His reign of terror began from the day they were married 18 years ago when he accused his wife of infidelity after he saw her hugging her cousin to comfort him.
Rees shaved part of his wife’s head down to her scalp ‘for a joke’ and in one incident threw one of her beloved cat out of the window. Brian Berlyne, prosecuting, said Rees, of Stonepail Road, Gatley, Cheadle, would accuse her of going to hotels with other men when in fact she was working a night shift.
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“He did not like her speaking to her family,” said Mr Berlyne. “She would shorten her conversations with her on the phone [with her family] and Rees placed phone tracking applications on her mobile.
“He mistreated her pet cats, knowing she was attached to them. In 2014, he threw one of them out of the window of their flat onto a roof before his wife climbed out to retrieve it. Rees would scream and shout at her complaining that she gave the cats more attention than him, saying she loved them more than him.”
The court was told that Rees was a ‘heavy drinker’, used amphetamines and would play loud music. His wife would not complain for fear of making him angry, said Mr Berlyne.
“Rees said he didn’t like her leaving the house or speaking to anyone else,” continued Mr Berlyne. “When his wife was referred to a counsellor, Rees would follow her de ella. He would also follow her around the house when she was on the phone.”
One occasion, he held her by the neck over the banister of the saying: “I don’t want to kill you, I only want to put you in a wheelchair so you will abide by my rules.” In December 2021, Rees used clippers to cut a section of her hair to her scalp from her, leaving a bald patch, and laughed saying it was ‘a joke’.
“She believed he did this in an attempt to humiliate her,” said Mr Berlyne. Rees’ wife suffered from epilepsy and had required open-heart surgery in 2018. But despite her vulnerable condition Rees continued his abuse of her.
On January 19, this year, the couple were at home and Rees’ wife noticed ‘his mood had changed’. Mr Berylyne said: “He grabbed her arms and told her to go back to her room, saying ‘I’m your husband – you do what I say’. She got into bed and pretended to be asleep, but he climbed beside her and got on top of her and grabbed her by the waist for leaving the house.
“On January 22, he had been drinking all day and was verbally abusive. She locked herself in the kitchen and called her friend, asking her to call the police. ” When police saw the bruising on both her arms, abdomen and left leg, they arrested Rees.
In her victim’s personal statement, Rees’ wife said the effect of his behavior in stopping her family from seeing her ‘made me feel devastated’. She was so terrified of the effect on Rees of her family of her coming to see her it ‘made me feel physically sick’.
“I’ve had no contact with anyone apart from one friend,” she said. “When I go to a hospital appointment I feel like I’m having a day out. David follows me around the flat. His behavior has been making me feel I have no way out. I do not feel I can remember who I used to be.”
She continued: “David’s behavior has got worse over the last few years and I do fear for my life. I have a genuine belief that he could kill me. Now, I have my phone in my hand all the time with 999 on it, just in case I see him.”
Defending, Helen Longworth said Rees ‘had a desire to change’. She said: “He is being assisted by the probation service and he apologizes for the harm he has done to his wife from him.”
Judge Angela Nield jailed Rees for two years and three months and granted an indefinite restraining order preventing him from contacting his wife directly or indirectly other than through legal teams handling their ongoing divorce proceedings.
She told Rees: “The victim of your quite appalling behaviour, your wife, reports this abuse to have started as long ago as the day of your wedding.” And she pointed to prior conviction Rees had for assaulting his wife in 2006 as evidence of his longstanding abuse of her.
Judge Nield continued: “No one who has read the statement of your wife can fail to be appalled by the catalog of cruelty and controlling behavior which has characterized what must’ve been an extremely unhappy marriage for your wife.”
Rees will serve half his sentence behind bars and the rest on license and will be subject to ‘stringent constraints’ as to where he is allowed to live on release, said the judge.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.