Controlling partner threatened woman as she held her baby in Carlisle home

Ashleigh Bell was jailed for 28 months and banned from contacting the woman in any way for life. Credit: Cumbria Police

A controlling Carlisle boyfriend who threatened to slit a woman’s throat as she cradled her baby has been handed a lengthy prison sentence.

Ashleigh Bell’s criminal conduct came to light after school staff raised concerns.

Police were alerted after the woman — who was both tearful and fearful — disclosed that 28-year-old Bell had caused a black eye.

Officers were sent to the woman’s address and initially found her quiet and reluctant to discuss the latter part of a relationship with Bell which began in 2020.

But her mother encouraged her to tell officers what had happened, and she lifted sunglasses to show bruising under her eye. She also said Bell had also caused a tennis ball-sized injury to her elbow having hurled a cot which struck her.

Prosecutor Gerard Rogerson told Carlisle Crown Court that during a period of four to five months earlier this year, she had been subjected to physical assaults, verbal abuse and threats.

Details of shocking individual incidents were outlined and involved the throwing of objects while she was holding her baby.

On one occasion, Bell smashed a living room table. “He picked up a shard and threatened to slit her throat,” said Mr Rogerson.

“That, she said, made her fear for her life. Again at that time she was holding the baby.”

As she put up a hand to defend herself she was bitten by Bell — who was described as a “jealous person” — and she spoke in a statement about how he had left her feeling “useless, degraded and scared”.

Bell had also burned a school leavers’ T-shirt because it bore the name of the woman's ex-boyfriend. Details of other physical violence, including being choked and slapped, and of feeling miserable, anxious and humiliated, also emerged in court.

She had been told by help group staff she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and also talked of suffering from flashbacks.

Bell, of Beverley Rise, Harraby, admitted assault by beating, engaging in controlling or coercive behaviour and a third charge of threatening to cause criminal damage after an incident in July during which he threatened to smash the woman’s windows while brandishing a brick.

Jeff Smith, mitigating, said: “He knows he must be punished for these offences, for his actions. He knows that custody is going to follow. He has had time in custody (on remand) to reflect on what he has done.”

Judge James Adkin imposed a 28-month jail term for what he called “persistent conduct over a long period”. Bell was banned from contacting the woman in any way for life.

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