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Woman sentenced for systematically abusing and controlling boyfriend

|News, Domestic abuse

A woman who was studying to be a nurse has been sentenced for systematically and repeatedly controlling and abusing her partner.   

Sarah Rigby, 41, of Sunningdale Close, Winsford, subjected the man to controlling and coercive behaviour over many months. She denied the charges initially but pleaded guilty just two days into her trial in February.

The abuse included:

Not letting him go to the toilet in the house they shared - he had to walk to a nearby pub, library or supermarket

Assaulting him and scratching his face

Making him sleep on the floor with all the windows open

Controlling what he was and wasn’t allowed to eat

Forcing him to pay for private treatments and reports to help her with court proceedings.

Making him pretend to be unwell so he could get prescriptions for codeine to fulfil her codeine habit

Calling him “fat”, “lazy”, “sweaty”, “a whale”, “dopey”, “thick”, “smelly”, “dog”, etc

Stopping him from seeing his family

Frisking him when he left the house to prevent him taking food out

Accusing him of stealing from her – he wasn’t.

Telling him he needed to put cameras up in the house so she could watch him when she wasn’t in the same room.

Making him leave the house whenever she wasn’t in the house, even though he lived there with her, and also making him leave and just walk around the streets if anyone came round.

Telling him “If I’m not pregnant this month, I am going to find someone else to have sex with and get pregnant” and “I need to get pregnant this month. If I don’t, I’ll dump you”. 

The victim reported Rigby to the police in early March 2022 and Rigby was arrested. She denied the offences and laid the blame on him and accused him of being violent, coercive, controlling and manipulative towards her rather than vice versa.

But her phone was seized and revealed many messages during their six-month relationship that revealed her offending.

She denied the charges and her trial began on 26 February 2024 at Chester Crown Court. But Ms Rigby pleaded guilty two days later. She was sentenced today (24 May 2024) at Chester Crown Court to 20 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years. She must complete 35 days of a rehabilitation activity. The Crown Prosecution Service applied for restraining orders to prevent her contacting the victim or his parents. These were granted by the court for a period of five years.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Nicky Inskip of CPS Mersey Cheshire said: “Sarah Rigby subjected her former partner to months of cruel and dehumanising behaviour. She seemed intent on humiliating and degrading him in any way she could.

“On one occasion she threw him out of the house in his underwear and refused to allow him back in. She accused him of stealing from her and, at the same time, made him pay for things for her.

“The abuse has had a substantial impact on this man who finally found the courage to break free from this toxic relationship and report Sarah Rigby’s behaviour to the police.

“Her treatment of him did not represent the normal ups and downs of a relationship. It was coercive, controlling and criminal. She admitted her guilt in the face of overwhelming evidence and has now been sentenced. We hope this is of some comfort to the victim.”

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