‘Bully’ nurse forced boyfriend to swallow toothpaste and mouthwash

Sarah Rigby
Sarah Rigby, who subjected her partner Gareth Jones to a tirade of abuse - Ricky Champagne/Cavendish Press

An NHS student nurse forced her boyfriend to eat toothpaste and drink mouthwash in a campaign of abuse, a court heard.

Sarah Rigby, 41, forced Gareth Jones, an NHS project manager, to eat salad, wear a hat and swallow toothpaste and Listerine as she said he was fat, bald and had halitosis.

During their abusive six-month relationship, Rigby, who has six children from other partners, taunted 40-year old Mr Jones over his sexual performance and said: ‘‘If I’m not pregnant this month, I am going to find someone else to have sex with and get pregnant. I need to get pregnant this month. If I don’t, I’ll dump you.’’

In other instances, Mr Jones, who had moved in with Rigby, was thrown out of her house in Winsford, Cheshire, while dressed only in his underwear, was refused his own door key and would not be allowed alone in the property whenever she went out.

Sarah Rigby
Sarah Rigby admitted coercive behaviour after bullying her partner - Cavendish Press

The victim would be ‘‘frisked’’ by Rigby before leaving the house and forced to work from their local library, pub or supermarket café until she came home.

On occasions, he would have to work late into the night as he was made to do errands and jobs for Rigby during the day.

Mr Jones gave his mother a ‘‘duress code’’ to indicate when it was safe for them to speak without Rigby listening, the court heard.

‘I can control you and I am loving it’

At one point, he was hit in the face by a glass candle holder leaving him with a scar across his nose.

When Rigby’s children became the subject of family court proceedings involving her ex-partner, she made Mr Jones pay for a £3,000 expert report and file a false witness statement supporting her plea to get custody, the court heard.

Rigby told him: ‘‘I may not control social services, but I can control you and I am loving it.”

At Chester Crown Court, Mr Jones told how he was driven to the brink of suicide by the abuse as Rigby, who admitted coercive behaviour, was given 20 months jail suspended for two years and was banned from contacting her victim for five years under the terms of a restraining order.

He said he was now so haunted by his experiences he kept minimal possessions and would have a ‘‘grab bag’’ with him containing a toothbrush and washing products and a towel at all times.

He also accused Rigby of showing ‘‘contempt’’ for him by turning up to court appearances flaunting a £400 Marc Jacobs shoulder bag he was ordered to buy her during a shopping trip to Harrods.

The court heard the couple met in the summer of 2021 through the Plenty of Fish dating website.

He subsequently gave up his flat in Crewe to move in with her but Frances Willmott, prosecuting, said: ‘‘By the autumn, she told Mr Jones he had to lose weight if he was to stay in a relationship with her.

‘During a row, she clawed at his face’

“She would restrict what Mr Jones ate when out and if he ate anything more substantial than a salad would be verbally abusive.

“If Mr Jones ate while away from Rigby, she would refuse to come near him and say that he smelt of onion or garlic. She would insist Mr Jones swallowed toothpaste and drank mouthwash.

“Even when Mr Jones lost a significant amount of weight, Rigby was still abusive about his appearance.

“On New Year’s Eve 2021, during an argument, Rigby clawed at Mr Jones face and and he was made to sleep on the floor as ‘punishment’.”

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones was hit in the face by a glass candle holder - neCavendish Press

Some days later, she accused Mr Jones of breaking her ribs but despite X-rays showing no breaks, she demanded compensation from him and threatened to call the police if he did not pay her.

“She wore Mr Jones down with repeated messages until he apologised – at which point she would threaten to use his message apologising to report him to the police.

“She did not give him a key to her property and would not let him be in the house by himself.

“As a result, Mr Jones would have to leave the house and find public spaces in order to work, often at short notice, when she wanted to leave the house.

‘Behaviour intended to humiliate him’

“She would frisk Mr Jones as he left the house, to check what he was taking with him.

“She told Mr Jones he could not be trusted and therefore wanted access to both his phone and bank account.

“She made it clear she was his financial priority and told him that he was legally obliged to pay for everything.’’

The judge Mr Recorder Eric Lamb told Rigby: ‘‘Your conduct has led to a substantial detrimental effect upon Mr Jones, who even today when speaking of the impact of the relationship upon him was plainly close to tears and in great distress when speaking on where the relationship had left him.

“There were multiple methods of controlling or coercive behaviour intended to humiliate and degrade him.”