Vile abuser who treated ex as 'property' boasted his sentence would be 'light work'

James Rogers aka James Heckingbottom
James Rogers aka James Heckingbottom -Credit:Merseyside Police

A vile domestic abuser who treated his partner as his 'property' boasted that his court sentence would be 'light work' before he was locked up for 31 months.

James Rogers subjected his girlfriend to a horrific campaign of abuse and harassment, the Liverpool Echo reports. He threatened to share intimate pictures of her online, said he would cover her dad's hearse in mud during his funeral, bombarded her with up to 100 phone calls a day and branded her a 'dirty, dirty sl*t, a court heard.

The 24-year-old boasted that he would only only receive probation for his disgraceful actions - a sentence which he labelled 'light work'. But instead was jailed by a judge who described him as 'highly abusive'.

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Liverpool Crown Court heard on Thursday (April 11) how Rogers, also known as James Heckingbottom, had been with his victim since 2020. She described their relationship as 'violent and abusive'. with his 'extremely jealous, paranoid and controlling behaviour' ultimately leaving her 'in fear for her life'.

Christopher Taylor, prosecuting, detailed how Rogers made threats to her family over Instagram, told her he would burn her mum's house down and said he would falsely report her to the RSPCA for 'mistreating' her dog. The defendant called her names including 'sl*g, sl*t, dog and dirty little rat', demanded that she change her clothing to his liking, instructed her not to shave her legs and messaged her on Facebook telling her that he would post sexual images of her online.

Rogers was also said to have 'asked her why she was following other males on social media' and 'demanded that they meet him for a fight'. One violent incident came on May 12, after the couple had been drinking at home.

Shortly before 11pm, she left the address and went to a nearby shop before visiting a friend's house. She did not return until around 4am, after which an argument ensued and Rogers 'got in her face'.

She retaliated by hitting him to the left ear, after which he grabbed her hair and she took hold of his. The pair spent the next five minutes tussling in the living room, leaving her with scratch marks and a black eye from where he had elbowed her in the face.

Rogers was handed a domestic violence protection order later in May 2023, preventing him from contacting the complainant for a month. He was banned from seeing her further under bail conditions imposed on August 23.

But, three days later, he began shouting at her while 'red in the face' during an altercation on Seel Street in Liverpool city centre - with his girlfriend fleeing into the Ropewalks Hotel after he told her: "Mate, you best wait. I'll snap your chin."

Rogers then began bombarding her with calls and texts, saying in his messages: "I'll kill you, you dirty, dirty sl*t. You stupid sl*t.

"I'll punch you up. I'll snap your neck

"Listen, I'll slap you. I'll slap your chin now."

Rogers was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court
Rogers was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court -Credit:Liverpool Echo

His tirade only ceased once he was arrested. Then, after the death of her father the following month, Rogers threatened that he would 'turn up on his bike and disrupt his funeral'.

On September 30, he appeared outside her flat on Stanley Street in the city centre and began 'constantly' calling her 'every 10 minutes or so' from the early hours onwards from a withheld number - ringing her more than 100 times throughout the day. When she answered, he 'demanded to see her'.

Rogers even continued his barrage when police officers attended the scene. He was subsequently arrested at Premier Inn Liverpool North in Bootle.

But he then continued his contact on October 5 after being remanded in custody in Altcourse prison. In an initial call, Rogers began by 'being overly nice' and told her that he 'missed her' as he 'called her off one of the lads' phone'.

But, after ringing her back again, he claimed that he was only 'going to get 12 months probation' which he labelled 'light work'. The inmate added that he was 'in the pad with his brother and a few lads from Kirkby'.

In a statement which was read out to the court on her behalf, his ex outlined how she was 'not able to properly grieve for her dad' as a result of his actions. She added: "I now have no self esteem and no confidence, I don't trust anyone and believe everyone wants to hurt me.

"I know this is all because of Jay. My mind no longer functions the right way."

Rogers also fell to be sentenced over an incident at around 5.15pm on September 25, when he was seen riding an off-road motorbike in St Helens. He was followed by police patrols as the vehicle was driven at high speed onto Ashcroft Street.

The unlicensed and uninsured rider then 'appeared to make off' from officers before crashing into a van on Parr Stocks Road. Rogers was left with blood dripping from his left hand and complaining of pain to his finger and shoulder following the collision.

Emily Land, defending, told the court: "The defendant's immature and naive behaviour and flawed thinking means that he hasn't really understood the last impact that his horrendous behaviour is likely to have on this young woman, most likely for the rest of her life. This is a defendant who is young - he only turned 24 this week.

"He spent his birthday in prison. He doesn't want to spend any more time there.

"He doesn't want to spend another birthday in prison. This is his first time in custody.

"He recognises that he has abandonment and attachment issues. That has resulted in him lashing out at her.

"He is broken hearted that this is the result of his first serious relationship. He accepts that his behaviour was unacceptable and wrong.

"He is desperate for help to manage his emotions. It is him that needs to make that change, and he is slowly taking those steps.

"Everything got on top of him. He was struggling financially and took it out on her, which is completely unacceptable.

"He wishes to gain employment. He wishes to start his own family.

"He recognises that this is punishment for his behaviour, which was completely out of character. He doesn't wish to subject anyone else to that behaviour again."

Rogers, formerly of Hurst Park Drive in Huyton, admitted threatening to disclose private sexual images, controlling or coercive behaviour, stalking, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, dangerous driving, driving without a licence and driving without insurance. Appearing via video link to HMP Altcourse wearing a black Nike zip-up top, he was jailed for 31 months.

Sentencing, Recorder Richard Pratt KC said: "These offences reflect a highly abusive relationship in which you manipulated and abused, in so many different ways, your former partner. You did so when she was not wanting anything to do with you, consistently and incessantly, using your telephone - on one day alone, you tried to speak to her on 100 separate occasions.

"You were highly abusive towards her, calling her outrageous and abusive names. You inflicted violence upon her.

"I have seen her in court, and she is small and slightly built. Although she was courageous enough to fight back, she was in truth no match for you.

"You threatened to make widely public, using social media, intimate photographs of her. You even threatened to disrupt her father's funeral by using your motorbike to spray mud on the hearse.

"During your time together, in your arrogant mind, you treated her not as a person but as property. She was subjected to violence and humiliation.

"I do note that you have shown, in the past, that you have had some mental health difficulties. This is the first offence for which you will receive a prison sentence, and your last offence was a long time ago when you were very much younger."

Rogers was also handed a restraining order barring him from contacting his victim for 10 years. He was disqualified from driving for two years and 11 months and must pass an extended retest before being allowed back on the roads.

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