18 years jail for abuser who controlled woman’s life
A domestic bully who beat a woman, controlled her movements and physically “examined” her to check she wasn’t having affairs has been jailed for 18 years after we exposed the extent of his offending.
Ryan Watton, from Staple Lodge Road in West Heath, Birmingham, subjected the woman to a catalogue of abuse and coercive control over several years.
But she reached breaking point on 15 January this year following a savage, drunken beating during which he spat in her face, pulled out a clump of hair and almost caused her to pass out in a choke hold.
She contacted us to report the attack and went on to disclose a history of domestic violence and abuse.
Officers from our Public Protection Unit – who are specially trained to support domestic abuse survivors – heard how Watton dictated when she could leave her flat in Weoley Castle and limited her contact with family and friends.
The 34-year-old monitored her social media accounts – often insisting she removed men as friends – and regularly inspected her phone and tablet.
And on the few occasions she was “allowed” out she told how he would demand to examine her intimately, and inspect her underwear, when she returned home in what he claimed was an inspection to check she hadn’t cheated on him.
The shocking behaviour would lead us to charge Watton with sexual assault by penetration.
We arrested him later on 15 January and, in interview, he denied their arguments ever got physical and suggested photographs of the woman’s injuries may have been fake.
He appeared at Birmingham Crown Court on 22 July where he was jailed for 18 years having been found guilty by a jury of assault by beating, coercive control, and sexual assault.
Detective Constable Maria Watts described the case as one of the most shocking she’s ever investigated.
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She added: “The attack on 15 January this year was prolonged and vicious. The woman was repeatedly punched in the face, left with a cut lip, and she feared for her life when he grabbed her in a headlock.
“I’m thankful and relieved she contacted us as I fear Watton’s violence and intimidation would only have escalated if he felt he could keep getting away with it.
“She disclosed how she was often only allowed to leave her home on the school run – and that he would time how long she was out for.
“No-one deserves to live like this and she knew she had to break away, and to contact the police, for her safety and that of her children.
“I’m pleased the court has recognised the physical and psychological damage Watton has caused and that he’s rightly been handed a long jail sentence.
“I wish the woman well for the future and hope she can move on from this shocking experience.”
Reports of domestic rose in the West Midlands increased by 24 per cent from April 2019 to March 2020 compared to the previous 12 months.
DC Watts added: “Tackling domestic abuse is always a priority for us. It’s encouraging more people are reaching out to us to disclose offences and have faith we will support them and stop the abuse.
“But we suspect there are many more people still suffering in silence. No-one deserves to live with the fear of violence or control hanging over them and dictating their lives
“We work with abuse charities and support groups who, alongside our specialist teams, can help survivors break free from domestic abuse and make positive steps to improve their lives.”
For help search Domestic Abuse at WMP Online, message us at Live Chat or call 101.