Cambridgeshire abuser who attacked and controlled girlfriend claiming he did it for love

William Graham, 23, of Duxford was given an indefinite restraining order. Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

A domestic abuser who controlled his girlfriend’s life and physically attacked her, while claiming his actions were a result of his “love”, has been jailed for two years.

William Graham, 23, of Duxford in Cambridgeshire, met the woman in 2019 but the relationship turned sour, and Graham began to stop her from seeing her friends.

The woman tried to leave Graham several times but he persuaded her to stay or threatened to harm himself – claiming he only acted like he did because he "loved her" so much, said police.

She said she lost count of the times he grabbed her or bent her arm up behind her back.

His physical abuse also included punching and slapping and smashing four of her mobile phones.

The woman finally decided she had had enough after Graham punched her so hard in the face she was left with a black eye.

She went to stay with a friend but Graham told the woman he was going to harm himself so she visited him.

However after she had arrived, Graham kicked her in the stomach and smashed her new phone – telling her she now had no evidence to prove the abuse.

Graham was due to stand trial at Peterborough Crown Court in February but, on the day his trial was due to begin, he pleaded guilty to coercive or controlling behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He was jailed for two years and given an indefinite restraining order, preventing him from contacting his victim in any way.

PC Christian Effenburg said: “The stories of abuse in this case are shocking and Graham thought he could make his girlfriend’s life a misery and avoid being caught.

"He was wrong.

"No person should have to suffer this kind of abuse and I would like to applaud the woman’s bravery in coming forwards.

"Domestic abuse isn’t always just physical. Victims can also suffer from the threat and fear of injury, daily intimidation and having every aspect of their life monitored and controlled.

"Coercive control is a criminal offence, and we take all reports of it very seriously.“

  • You can call the national domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247

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