‘It feels as if I can see again’: Southampton woman bravely speaks out as ex-partner jailed for controlling and coercive behaviour
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‘It feels as if I can see again’.
These are the words of a Southampton woman whose ex-partner has been jailed for controlling and coercive behaviour and has spoken out about the ‘huge impact’ his actions had on her.
Lloyd Rooke, 33, from Allington Lane, West End, Southampton, received a 30-month prison sentence and a seven year restraining order for engaging in controlling or coercive behaviour and stalking not involving violence at Southampton Crown Court on Friday, 9 December.
Rooke’s coercive and controlling behaviour against the victim began in August 2020 and took place at an address in Woolston, Southampton.
During their relationship he kicked her, stamped on her, threw a phone at her, whipped her with a metal coat hanger, dunked her head in bath water and threatened to kill her.
He also gaslighted her by telling her the incidents were not happening, to the extent she wrote notes to herself on her phone as evidence.
He would claim her non-existent ‘actions’ were affecting his mental health and when she would try to leave him, he would threaten to harm himself.
He also distanced her from her friends and family, making her feel reliant on only him for support.
On the evening of 21 February into the morning of 22 February this year, Rooke verbally abused the victim and sprayed disinfectant in her eyes. He also ripped a TV off the wall in front of her, spat and blew snot at her because he was hungry and screamed at her and punched her in the head because he believed she had not gone shopping or done housework.
These incidents led the woman to go to her mother’s house and tell her about the extent of Rooke’s abuse. Together they reported it to the police.
Rooke was arrested and bailed with conditions not to contact the victim but breached these several times, turning up at her place of work, texting her and messaging her on social media.
On April 29, Rooke turned up at her home address in his car and then proceeded to nudge her vehicle as she drove away, followed her to work and then threatened to drive into the building, speeding towards it and braking at the last minute several times.
In her statement, the victim said she had become so conditioned by Rooke that she was not allowed to go to sleep until he was ready to ‘drop the argument’ and that she had also planned her own suicide.
She said: “There was always something in my head that made me not want to do it; I knew it was the wrong thing to do.”
Now in a better place and dealing with the impact her relationship had on her mental health, with the help of her ‘amazing’ family and friends, she said: “Now I feel free, I feel safe, I know no-one is going to get me or is watching me, it was just again another act of his disgusting behaviour trying to get in my head.
“Even though I know I have a lot more to do to get better, I know I’m strong and I know I will get through it because I do not need him and never have needed him. It feels as if I can see again.”
Chief Inspector Marcus Kennedy from Southampton Neighbourhoods Policing Team said: “Firstly I would like to commend the survivor of these awful crimes for the bravery she has shown throughout the investigation and to thank her for sharing her experience.
“Her words show not only how devastating domestic abuse can be but also the incredible inner strength it takes to come out of the other side.
“Male violence towards women and girls has no place in our society.
“Hopefully this sentence shows how hard we are working to make sure offenders are jailed, such as Rooke, who is behind bars for his depraved catalogue of abuse and cannot harm another woman.
“If you have experienced something similar, it is never too late to tell us. Please get in touch with us by phone on 101 or on our website – you will be believed and respected from the moment you make that call or send that message and will be supported throughout the investigation by specialist officers.”
If you are a survivor of domestic abuse in Southampton, Yellow Door, a local charity, can offer you a range of help and support. Visit their website, yellowdoor.org.uk or contact them on 023 8063 6312 to find out more.
If you have been affected by of the details in this article and want to speak to someone about it, you can contact the Samaritans charity on 116 123.