Domestic abuser beat his partner and threatened her with meat cleaver during ‘six months of terror’

A controlling boyfriend who threatened his partner with a meat cleaver and told her she was ‘going to cause a murder scene’ has been jailed.

Samuel James repeatedly threatened his partner and subjected her to six months of coercive behaviour.

Samuel James

Samuel James

Between September 2018 and February this year James, of Brownlow Road, St Ives, also attacked the woman on numerous occasions.

His behaviour only came to light after the woman was interviewed when James was arrested for a separate offence, for which he faced no further action.

The woman told police there was a ‘threatening undertone’ from the 28-year-old at all times during their relationship and she was continuously threatened with violence.

The level of anxiety James caused the woman left her unable to sleep, with James threatening to kill her, put her in his car boot or ‘smash her teeth’.

The woman went on to disclose four other assaults to police which she had not reported at the time.

The first assault, in which James had slapped her round the face, took place between October 15 and 21 2018 when the woman was living with James in Surrey.

James next attacked the woman on December 4 after becoming instantly aggressive when she went outside.

James told her to close the door and threatened to hurt her. He then punched her in the face before he grabbed her and pulled her back inside.

On December 19 the woman was referred to Hinchingbrooke Hospital by her GP after suffering from bruising to her left arm and a cut to her head.

She disclosed to hospital staff that she had been attacked by James at the home they shared in St Ives.

At the time she refused to engage with the police, instead telling officers she had fallen down the stairs.

James was arrested but denied the offence, telling police he was not in Cambridgeshire at the time.

The woman later admitted James had attacked her, telling police he had hit her across the head and kicked her while she was on the floor.

He then dragged her across the kitchen floor towards the living room before pinning her on the sofa and sitting on her with clenched fists.

The third assault took place on January 31 this year after the woman was confronted by James in his car as she left the gym.

She refused to get in the car but James threatened her and also had a knife in the vehicle. He said if she ran, he would run quicker. James then admitted having sex with other women but blamed this on the victim.

Between February 1 and 2 this year, James threatened the woman with a meat cleaver which he kept by his bed.

The incident followed an earlier argument between the pair, where he demanded to know what the woman had said to her friend.

James punched walls in the house and said if she denied to tell him what she had said, she ‘would be causing a murder scene’.

James pleaded guilty to one charge of coercive and controlling behaviour, three charges of assault by beating and one charge of common assault yesterday (Monday) - the day his trial was due to start at Cambridge Crown Court. He was sentenced on the same day to 34 months in prison.

However, James had also breached a suspended sentence which added another two months to his sentence – giving him a total of 36 months in prison.

James was handed a restraining order for 10 years, with conditions not to contact the victim or four others. The order prevents him from visiting St Ives, together with Sterne Close and Garden Walk in Cambridge.

Sentencing James, Judge Jonathan Cooper said his actions had a ‘massive impact’ on his partner and had ‘undone her source of stability in life’.

He noted James, who had numerous recent convictions for domestic violence, had issued threats to kill his partner, leave her, blamed her for his violent outbursts and had even issued instructions on where she could go and who she could speak to.

Judge Cooper said James’s coercive behaviour ‘maximised the woman’s fear’ and threats were also issued to her friends.

DC Kellymarie Harman, who investigated, said: “The victim in this case told us we had saved her life. She thanked us as a force, saying she had received amazing support and help from us.

“James subjected his partner to six months of terror. No person should have to suffer this kind of abuse and I would like to applaud her bravery in coming forwards. We are committed to tackling domestic abuse, which is a force priority.

“Additionally, we recognise not all victims of domestic violence suffer physical injury. They suffer from the threat and fear of injury, daily intimidation and having every aspect of their life monitored and controlled.

“Controlling behaviour is a criminal offence and we take all reports of it very seriously. This case helps to highlight we’re doing all we can to prosecute those who act in the same way.

“We would strongly urge anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse to contact police on 101 or call the national domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247.”

For more advice and support on domestic abuse, visit www.cambs.police.uk/information-and-services/Domestic-abuse/Domestic-abuse.