Controlling girlfriend 'first woman convicted' of new domestic abuse offence

Victoria Ward
Jordan Worth was convicted of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship - All broadcast news outlets - including Anglia News; but excluding BBC Look East and East On-Line - w

A university graduate is believed to be the first woman convicted under new domestic abuse laws after scalding her boyfriend with boiling water, stabbing him and keeping food from him.

Jordan Worth, 22, banned her partner from their bed, decided what clothes he could wear, isolated him from friends and family and even took over his Facebook account.

She was jailed for seven-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to the offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship, introduced in 2015, as well as wounding with intent and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Worth, who came from a loving and supportive family, made her boyfriend’s life a misery, exercising control over him and deciding what he could wear shortly after they moved in together, Luton Crown Court heard.

Raised in Ridgmont, Herts, she had been a high performer at school and was a trained gymnast.

Jordan Worth was convicted of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship Credit: SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY

She gained a 2:1 Honours Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Hertfordshire and had been volunteering for an animal charity but wanted to become a teacher.

She had also raised money children in Africa.

But Judge Nic Madge heard that there were two sides to petite Worth, who controlled every aspect of her partner’s life at their home in the village of Stewartby in Bedfordshire.

Worth and her partner had met at college in 2012 when they were both 16, Maryam Syed, prosecuting, told the court.

She became violent towards the man, who suffered from hydrocephalus (caused by a buildup of fluid inside the skull) that made him vulnerable. She used blunt objects to strike him, wounded him with a knife and didn’t help him get to hospital for treatment.

For nine months he was not permitted to sleep in the same bed as her, the court was told.

Coercive control: How can you tell whether your partner is emotionally abusive?

The charge of controlling or coercive behaviour covered a period from April of 2016 to June 2017, when police were called to the couple’s home.

Neighbours said they often heard them arguing and the sounds of things being thrown in the house, Miss Syed said.

The victim was heard by his neighbours shouting at Worth: “Get off me, you are hurting me.” He was seen on occasions with black eyes and to be limping and with his arm in sling.

Once Worth was seen at window by a neighbour “armed” with a screwdriver or hammer, the court heard.

Another neighbour heard the victim shouting “Get off me. Get off my head. Don’t keep doing that to my head.”

When paramedics were called, they noted injuries to his hand and burns to arms and legs, which were being self-treated with cling film.

He was taken to Bedford Hospital’s acute clinical unit and then to Addenbrookes Hospital. Miss Syed said: “Five per cent of his total body surface was scalded.” Days later, Worth was arrested.

What is coercive control?

Judge Madge told Worth that as well as the violence she had carried out on her partner she had refused him adequate bedding and food.

He said she would “belittle” her partner and discouraged him from contacting friends and his family.“"She accepts that she has in the past, on a number of occasions, used blunt objects and implements to strike him and that he suffered injuries as a result of her doing so,” he said.

“She accepts using boiling or hot water to cause injury to him. She accepts that she has in the past used a knife to cause injury to her partner.

“He suffered from hydrocephalus and had a vulnerable head and he became increasingly isolated.”

Worth, who is now in a new relationship, was made the subject of a restraining order which prevents her from contacting her ex for an indefinite period.

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