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Cheshire
Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Winsford woman receives suspended sentence for controlling former partner

A Winsford woman who abused her former partner, forcing him to sleep on the floor and use the toilet at a local gym, has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Chester Crown Court heard how Sarah Rigby (41) from Sunningdale Close, physically and psychologically controlled the life of her former partner, causing him to lose four stone in weight, over their nine-month relationship.

She was sentenced to 20 months in prison, suspended for two years, along with a five-year restraining order. She must complete 35 rehabilitation.

The court was told that the couple’s relationship first began in July 2021 and initially everything was good between the pair. However, Rigby quickly became very controlling and within months she had forced her partner to move into her home in Winsford.

As soon as he arrived at the address, he was made to store all his belongings in the garage and she ordered him pay £700 a month rent, despite the fact Rigby’s father already owned the house.

Then she took full control of all his finances, cut him off from his family and friends, and stopped him from being in the house alone – despite the fact he needed to work from home.

Rigby also stopped the victim from showering or defecating at the house, meaning that he had to go to a local gym. She also searched him as he was entering and leaving the house.

If he didn’t comply, Rigby would physically assault him, prevent him from eating, and make him sleep on the floor with no duvet and the windows open.

Rigby also verbally and psychologically abused him, constantly bombarding him with messages calling him fat, ugly, and disgusting.

The victim found the courage to speak out and in March 2022, contacted Cheshire Police after seeking help from a men’s domestic abuse helpline.

Following the call, an investigation was launched by detectives in Northwich CID and Rigby was subsequently charged in relation to the incidents.

Detective constable Sophie Ward said: “Firstly, I would like to praise the victim for having the courage to speak out, as well as the bravery that he has shown throughout the investigation.

“This is the worst case of controlling and coercive behaviour I have ever seen.

“Rigby had a stranglehold on the victim. Through her coercive behaviour she was able to control everything he did, cutting him off from everyone he knew and leaving him trapped, feeling like he had nowhere to turn.

“Her actions left the victim both physically and emotionally scarred, and even now, two years after their relationship ended, he is still receiving counselling to help him recover.

“Even after she was charged, Rigby continued to taunt her victim, refusing to return his belongings, and constantly delaying the trial by failing to notify the court of holidays and appointments.

“Although she eventually pleaded guilty to her offending, she has shown no remorse for her actions.

“While the victim will never be able to forget what happened to him, I hope that the conclusion of this case will help him to move forward and start to rebuild his life.”

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