Merseyside man jailed for new offence of controlling or coercive behaviour


A Merseyside man who “controlled every aspect of his victim’s life” has been jailed for the new offence of controlling or coercive behaviour.

Adrian Lee, 21 of no fixed abode, was sentenced at Liverpool magistrates court on 25 April 2016 to six months imprisonment and a Restraining Order was imposed, preventing him contacting the victim for two years.

Lee had pleaded guilty to the offence of controlling/coercive behaviour in an intimate/family relationship. This is a new offence which came into force at the end of last year and is particularly relevant in domestic abuse cases.

Lee admitted asking his 39 year old victim to block her ex-partner on her phone and on her Facebook account and told her not to see him. As part of the controlling and coercive charge he also admitted to using violence against her on three separate occasions causing a bruising and a cut to her eyebrow which needed medical treatment after he had pushed her into a wall.

In a statement to the court, the victim said that she "couldn't understand why Lee had treated her in this way when he had told her that he loved her".

She also said that the abuse had left her feeling "nervous and depressed", which in turn made her feel "angry and frustrated".

Karen Renshall, reviewing lawyer at Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Controlling or coercive behaviour can have an extreme psychological and emotional impact on victims. This case shows that this behaviour will simply not be tolerated.

"No-one has the right to restrict someone else's freedom. Adrian Lee controlled every aspect of his victim's life. He prevented her from seeing her friends and questioned where she had been if she came in late.

"He stopped the victim from using her mobile phone and controlled her social media, such as making her delete friends on Facebook and he has now been jailed."

Lauren Costello prosecuted the case in court for Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service.

Lauren said: "The victim in this case showed real courage against this defendant who'd had such a negative impact on her life.  The emotional impact of controlling and coercive behaviour should not be underestimated and in this case the defendant had not only controlled many elements of this woman's life, he used violence as a further method of control.  She is now hoping to move on with her life with help from the Restraining Order which prevents the defendant from contacting her in any way."

Additional information

Adrian Lee pleaded guilty to:

  • Engaging in controlling/coercive behaviour in an intimate/family relationship.

The new offence, which does not have retrospective effect, came into force on 29/12/2015.

The offence of controlling or coercive behaviour applies in situations where the people involved:

  • Are in an intimate personal relationship; or
  •  Live together and are either members of the same family; or
  •  Live together and have previously been in an intimate personal relationship with each other.
  • The offence is particularly relevant in domestic abuse situations.

Government definitions

  • Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim
  •  Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour

Key Elements of the offence

The consideration of the cumulative impact of controlling or coercive behaviour and the pattern of behaviour within the context of the relationship is crucial.

An offence is committed by a perpetrator if:

  • The perpetrator repeatedly or continuously engages in behaviour towards the victim that is controlling or coercive; and
  • At time of the behaviour, the perpetrator and the victim are personally connected; and
  • The behaviour has a serious effect on the victim; and
  • The perpetrator knows or ought to know that the behaviour will have a serious effect on the victim.