Monday 22 May 2023

A woman subjected to controlling coercive behaviour tells of the impact this has had on her life after a man was sentenced for his actions.

22 year old Harry England of Richford Street in Hammersmith was sentenced to a six month, suspended sentence at Isleworth Crown Court after pleading guilty to controlling and coercive behaviour.

He was also ordered to engage in an 18-month Community Order, to attend a ‘building better relationships’ programme. He was ordered to undertake 85 hours of unpaid work. 

A Restraining Order was also put in place until further notice preventing any contact, direct or indirect with the victim.

The victim survivor, said: “Meeting Harry England is the one thing I regret about moving to London. I came here, full of hope and excited about my future. I wanted to make friends and have fun. I came to London to work and experience life, make a career in something I have wanted to do since I was 12-years old.

“When I met Harry, everything changed. His actions broke me. He made me question my faith and trust in people. I have spent the last three years trying to fix what he broke. Re-establishing relationships, learning to trust people, finding healthy ways to deal with stress, working out what life is about and trying to live in a way I can be proud of.

“I am grateful to the police for believing in me and supporting me when I really needed it. I will never be the same girl I was when I first met him, and that saddens me. She was a lot more calm and a lot more forgiving.

“I am slowly learning to love the woman I am now, but I do miss the girl I was.”

The woman was in her late teens when she first met England. During their time together he controlled all aspects of her life and continued to do so after the relationship was over.

He wore her down by the constant questioning and snide comments. He would instigate arguments to make her feel worthless. To keep the peace she avoided her friends and the fun they were having.

He would criticise her behaviour, looks, friends and family. He would also tell her what to wear and frequently tell her she was ‘fat’, at one point she was less than six stone. She became a closed and insular person.

England knew her college timetable and would turn up on several occasions, shouting and behaving in an aggressive manner. She stopped attending her classes.

He would also edit what she wrote on her texts, always looking over her shoulder.

After a few months, the victim ended the relationship with England and informed him to stop contacting her. One day she had over 60 calls from him. This resulted in the victim blocking his number and on social media. He set up fake accounts to try to make contact with her and even ended up standing outside her home address, sending her unwanted gifts.

A couple of months after the relationship had ended, England contacted police via 999 stating he was concerned for her welfare. Officers attended her address and she decided to report his behaviour to the police.

Detectives from Central West Basic Command Unit led the investigation, during which the woman shared the details of her time with her former partner.

PC Sol Bhugaloo, an officer who is specially trained to support victims of serious sexual assault (SOIT Officer) who supported the victim survivor throughout the investigation, said: “The victim survivor has shown immense courage throughout this long and protracted investigation. She had to relive her horrific ordeal whilst providing evidence in court. She has shown immense strength and bravery throughout the investigation.

“It is my sincere hope that the bravery shown by her will encourage all victims to come forward. You will be listened to and you will be heard.”

In February last year, England was charged with two counts of rape, attempted rape, assault and stalking involving fear of violence.

He was found not guilty of the offences following a two-week trial. He pleaded guilty at the start of the trial to controlling and coercive behaviour.

The investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Henh Song, said: “The victim survivor in this case has shown immense courage in standing up to England and ensuring he was made to answer for his actions.

“This was a three-year investigation and it was extremely hard for the victim who had to attend court to provide evidence and be cross-examined. She has shown immense strength and bravery throughout the investigation and we hope that the fact England has admitted his abhorrent behaviour will allow her some measure of closure so that she can rebuild her life.”

We take all reports of stalking and abuse, recent or non-recent, extremely seriously. Specially trained officers will support victim-survivors from the outset.

If you have been a victim of stalking, sexual assault or rape, including non-recent abuse, or you have information about an offender, contact police on 101 or 999 in an emergency – there are specially trained officers who will listen and investigate where needed.