When I met my husband in 2004 he seemed like a man who’d been treated very badly and been robbed of having his own children only to be cast off through infidelity. In fact when you learn the truth it’s frightening how twisted his reality is and how convincingly he disarms you to feel sorry for him. I didn’t see myself as vulnerable but had limited scope to work in my shift oriented profession as was a single mum with no local family. I’d already gone through the mill in other ways and I realise my tolerance threshold is very high.
My husband quickly moved in and stayed winning me and my child over but there were signs back then which I excused because of the very early starts he had. Strange things happened a lot eg. Things broke lawn mowers etc all in odd ways . He’d done it but feigned stupidity then bullying from his father so I couldn’t say anything as that would ‘affect his self esteem’. Interspersed with all this was seemingly normal behaviour from a guy that sounded decent. Deplored bent cops, infidelity, put family first, dedicated to earning and supporting family. As time went on there were moods, cars going wrong in spurious ways, humiliating comments, kids/babies being woken/upset to cause me upset/inconvenience , stopping me from studying for professional exams, important things went missing, there were many veiled threats which momentarily frightened me but then I thought I was going mad and imagining things.
As time went on the atmosphere got more and more volatile with my husband goading me into rows or behaving so badly that if I said anything, that’d trigger a row and then he’d say I was mad. He’d upset one of the children without fail when I cottoned on and wouldn’t be drawn into a row. He threw me out of the kids bedroom one day when they were being naughty for me and wouldn’t settle and he said I’d gone mad at them. After asking for a divorce he was sickly sweet but numerous things went wrong over and over that kept putting me off the path of instigating divorce proceedings such that when I finally managed it, he then became very nasty and scary.
I finally started to see this as the pattern of Abuse, largely because the behaviour escalated and I started to piece events together and realised I was being sabotaged. Once you join all the dots and realise the countless seemingly ‘accidental’ things that happened to you that caused chaos were not accidental, it becomes very frightening especially if you have no money with which to seek legal advice. I engaged all the services who just sent me around and around in circles and eventually was so scared I rang the police for advice.
This unfolded another nightmare. I was lured into an interview for an investigation I was never told happened. He was told immediately. My worst fear as I was terrified he’d harm the kids as the veiled threats had suggested. There’d been numerous veiled threats to me and one of a murder/suicide. The police had no regard for my safety. Didn’t assess me. Told him whilst telling me that they hadn’t and wouldn’t tell him and it was top secret. Unbeknown to me they made a MASH referral which I never knew about and never spoke to anyone from the MASH team. Now this forms part of a Social worker report for the family court as he’s trying to get out of paying maintenance. It seemed there were no concerns but at the time we had to flee the marital home as the behaviour overnight was very frightening, there were threats to bash doors down and my phone was hacked. The police said this was normal for divorcing couples and I was controlling by staying away on occasion as I was too frightened to come home. I was coaxed into making comments on his MH status then scoffed at when I said he wasn’t very stable. So as it turns out whilst I was fleeing the marital home because of PPDA, a MASH and police investigation were going on I had no knowledge of. Also the house was sold to a Child Protection Officer who can have been in no doubt as to what was going on (it was a sought after unique location).
I’ve only just learnt of all this and am horrified at the multiple failings. The impact on my long term MH and that of the kids is awful. Other family members have been very harmed by this too for reasons too complex to go into. Once he’d successfully forced me from my home (he also removed me from the council tax register well before I did leave), he was able to freely freeze my only bank account without it being deemed controlling behaviour. Hence I was struggling just to get to work let alone pay a divorce lawyer.
I did an IOPC complaint which was to do with the conduct of officers in the meeting. My witness/DA team worker was removed and a male was brought in unexpectedly. They asked me why I’d brought my notes. The complaint was upheld and part of it was to do with how he’d found out so quickly I’d gone to them despite their assurances. They then went through the whole rigmarole of pretending to investigate where the leak was but I’ve since learnt that PSD had to tell him and they’d in fact lied all along. At the point the complaint was upheld my highly vulnerable brother was charged for something that was clearly nothing to do with him and these were dropped at the last minute after giving us all more hell. After reading of others experiences I now believe the timing was no coincidence as it would have been the same Department I’d complained about.
Despite all these investigations my husband even encouraged me to borrow based on a level of maintenance he’d said he’d pay, showing evidence of this to a mortgage company by paying it into my account, and then didn’t even pay half of that in the end. I could have been repossessed and homeless again with kids. The divorce cost me £22k of debt. I had to settle for 38 per cent of marital assets because I couldn’t borrow anymore. Now he pursues me through family court. I nearly lost everything and would have if I’d not had a relative that could help.
What I’ve put in here is tip of the ice berg. There was so much more to this story that makes the impact of it so long lasting. He constantly tries to disrupt my time with the kids, texts them endlessly, sends messages to me constantly about how I should conduct my life, saying I’m lazy and a bad mum. He recently turned up at an event I took the kids to and sat nearby scaring me all day. Paladin suggest he is highly obsessive. Yet no-one can help us. He is alienating one of the children from me through incessant lies. I’ve asked the top people at the force whether there was an investigation (before I knew for certain as I only know because the social worker report refers to them) and what the outcome was and if he went to PSD about me before I went to them (he duped me into going to doctors appointments with him to make me look like the perp I suspect), but they ignore me. Five years after first attempting to leave he still has a firm grip and preoccupation with me that is very unhealthy. I can’t believe that this is Britain in 2021!
He also used to go on and on about female staff and told me repeatedly I was never to go through his phone (I had no reason to and never suggested I would). I now look back and think there was evidence of affairs. Lots of things never added up. I now realise I never knew the person I was married to for so long. Everything seems to have been a lie. Shocking when integrity should be paramount in this profession. More shocking that I think he was protected and others have failed to help as much as they should. Shocking they failed to show compassion to my kids or duty of care. What’s worse is I found out he’d done it before. No one asked for witness details/evidence.
Constabulary: N/A or Prefer not to say
Timespan: Started soon after met in 2004, escalated for 15 years, now post separation control still ongoing
Did you report it to the police?: Yes
Your ethnicity: White British
Have you experienced suicidality due to this?: Thoughts/feelings
Are you disabled as defined under the Equality Act 2010?: No