Abusive ex imposed 'bizarre rules' controlling when partner could use loo and wash

Paul Forsyth was jailed for three years at Teesside Crown Court
-Credit: (Image: Cleveland Police)

A violent drunk made his girlfriend's life a complete misery subjecting her to a "bizarre" set of rules.

Paul Forsyth controlled when his partner went to the toilet or had a bath or a shower. He also decided when she ate and drank and stopped her from taking her medication.

Teesside Crown Court heard the pair began dating in March 2023 but when Forsyth moved into the woman's Hartlepool home in August things took a sinister turn. Prosecutor Shaun Dryden said he began a campaign of control and coercion and was violent to the woman.

He said: "She wasn't allowed to attend appointments at the doctors in person, she had to have consultations over the phone. She wasn't allowed to collect her medication in person. She wasn't allowed to go shopping or for a walk unless she was accompanied by the defendant. He wouldn't let her take her medication. He imposed a bizarre set of rules on the complainant."

Mr Dryden said the woman had to ask to go to the toilet or to take a bath or shower. He said she had to ask permission to have a drink of water and eat. He added: "He didn't allow her to use her mobile phone unless he was monitoring who she was speaking to. She appears to have been locked inside when the defendant went out."

In one incident on December 2, 2023, the court heard there was an argument between the pair over the defendant's drinking. He repeatedly punched the woman in the face causing bruising and a bloody nose. Mr Dryden said he left the premises and the police were called.

The court heard attending officers spoke with the frightened woman who apologised to them and asked them if she could have a drink of water in her own home.

Forsyth was arrested on December 3 and made no reply to all questions asked in police interview. The court heard he was bailed with conditions not to contact the victim or attend her home address but repeatedly breached these. He attended the property on December 7, at around 3.30pm but the woman called a taxi for him and he left. However, he returned a day later at 9.50pm.

Mr Dryden said he made threats to the complainant saying he had people watching the house and either the woman or her children would be burned. He left and police were again called. The court heard on December 9, he again returned to the house at around 7.30pm and repeatedly asked her to drop the charges but left when she refused.

'Now I know you're a grass, you know what's going to happen'

Mr Dryden said he returned shortly after and asked her again to drop the charges but when she refused he said the house would be torched and attacked her. He said: "He grabbed hold of her hair and threw her from the bed onto the floor. She called the police and officers attended and arrested the defendant at the scene. He said 'now I know you are a grass, you know what's going to happen'.

In a victim impact statement, the abuse survivor said she doesn't live at the property anymore due to threats made by the defendant. She said she suffers panic attacks and the defendant's behaviour has impacted her children.

Forsyth, 39, has nine convictions for 21 offences including arson and child neglect. He pleaded guilty to controlling/coercive behaviour and intimidating a witness.

In mitigation, his barrister Tabitha Buck said he accepts full responsibility for the offences. She said he lost his mother two or three years ago which has impacted his mental health and he uses alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Addressing the defendant, Recorder Nicholas Worsley KC said: "You basically ruined this woman's life and you've done it because you're a drunk, you're a bully, and you're an inadequate coward. What you've put this woman through is inexcusable." The defendant, of no fixed address, was handed a three-year prison sentence and banned from contacting the victim.

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