Man jailed in landmark case using new legal powers after sustained campaign of domestic abuse led to strangle attack at Peterborough home

JAILED: Valerijs Pudovs
JAILED: Valerijs Pudovs
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A man has been jailed for six years after beating and strangling his former wife having falsely imprisoned her in own home in Peterborough.

In the first case of its kind in Cambridgeshire using new ‘coercive control’ laws, Valerijs Pudovs, 49, of Deene Court, was arrested on January 29, 2016, after police responded to distressed calls from his former partner.

On January 25, the victim had been expecting a parcel at her home in Peterborough when she had a knock at the door and saw who she thought was a delivery man holding a large box, covering their face.

She opened the door to be greeted by Pudovs who punched her to the head, causing her to fall to the ground. He pushed his way into the house, carrying a bag containing a bottle of Vodka, a small glass, several pairs of gloves and a large roll of tape, locking the front door behind him.

He punched the victim again and began to strangle her, making her lose consciousness for a short time.

She managed to get away from him and made her way to the front door, however Pudovs then hit her to the back of the head with the glass vodka bottle.

Again, she fought against him and managed to escape through a ground floor window and flagged down a passing member of the public who called police.

While officers were at the address, the victim’s cousin received a phone call from Pudovs saying he had killed her with a rope and was going to do the same to himself. She told him he would be going to prison, to which he replied ‘I won’t go to prison for long’.

In interview, the victim told officers how Pudovs had a problem with alcohol, and ever since his drinking got out of hand his controlling, jealous and argumentative behaviour became worse.

The violence started in 2013 and after one incident of assault, she reported it to police and her husband was arrested and convicted. After he served his sentence, he promised he would get help for his drink problem, which he did, and their relationship improved.

However, she told officers how by the end of 2015 she’d had enough of his jealousy and controlling behaviour; he’d changed passwords on her phone and social media accounts, and constantly checked her phone for text messages.

She told him it was over for the final time which resulted in him making threats to harm himself and have their three children taken away from her, saying ‘if I can’t be with them, then nor can you’, adding, ‘I will not touch you physically, but I will knock you down mentally as I cannot get done for that’.

Pudovs was found guilty of coercive and controlling behaviour, attempt grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent and false imprisonment at Huntingdon Crown Court on June 13, following a five-day trial.

Yesterday (Tuesday, July 5) he appeared at the same court and was sentenced to six years in prison for attempt grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent, three years for false imprisonment, and 18 months for the coercive control, all to run concurrently.

He has also been made subject of a life-long restraining order against his victim, and placed on licence for three years, meaning if he commits and is charged with any further offences after he is released from prison, he will be recalled with immediate effect.

Detective Constable Greg Homer-Ward, from the Public Protection Department (PPD), said: “Pudovs is an extremely dangerous individual who thought he could control his partner and not get caught.

“He had clearly planned his attack on January 25; he concealed his identity, tricking the victim into believing he was a delivery person. He went prepared with gloves, tape and ties, and once inside the house repeatedly assaulted her.

“She has been exceptionally brave in detailing the attack she suffered, as well as the years of abuse leading up to it. I hope his sentence brings her and her children some hope that they can now live a life without looking over their shoulders in fear of when Pudovs will attack again.”

The offence of coercive controlling behaviour was introduced in December last year (2015) under the Serious Crime Act 2015.

Controlling behaviour is explained as 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.

Coercive behaviour is described as a continuing 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.

DC Homer-Ward added: “This offence sets out the importance of recognising the harm caused by coercion or control, the cumulative impact on the victim and that a repeated pattern of abuse can be more injurious and harmful than a single incident of violence.”

Anyone who feels they may be suffering from any type of domestic abuse, including coercive control, is encouraged to contact police by calling 101.