Prison for Peterborough man after “shocking” abuse made girlfriend’s life a misery
A Peterborough man who forced his girlfriend to beg for money, attacked her when she didn’t earn enough and controlled her life for four years has been jailed.
Police became suspicious of Kyle Helm, 21, when a neighbour reported a man dragging a woman by the hair into a property in St Michael’s Gate, Peterborough, on October 21 last year.
Officers visited the address but Helm’s girlfriend said nothing had happened and refused to answer safeguarding questions.
However, nine days later the woman changed her mind and began to confide in police. She admitted Helm had grabbed her by the hair and beaten her, using a bottle and a screwdriver as weapons.
The woman admitted the issues had gotten worse over the years, saying she didn’t have a bank account and wasn’t allowed a phone, Facebook or any social media apps. She told police he would check in on her every day and needed to know exactly where she was.
The woman then disclosed a series of attacks. On 19 October, he had asked her how much money she had made that day begging on the streets.
When she told him he said it wasn’t enough and punched her, strangled her until she felt dizzy and stamped on her head.
Not content with this, Helm made the woman sit in another room for an hour, but returned every ten minutes to punch her in the head.
On the morning of October 22, after the woman returned home from a shop, Helm started an argument and accused her of sleeping with other men.
He grabbed her by the hair, threw her across the room, strangled her until she felt dizzy and used his thumbs to push down on her eyelids.
Helm, of no fixed address, used a Smirnoff Ice bottle to hit the woman over the head. He then told her she had to go and beg on the streets.
Helm’s girlfriend was approached in Westgate, Peterborough, by a passer-by who was concerned she looked bruised and dirty.
The woman took her to a pharmacy, to Primark for some new clothes and to her own home for a shower. It is here that Helm’s girlfriend further confided in the woman about the domestic abuse.
Helm was arrested but in police interview denied being violent or ever “laying a finger” on his girlfriend.
However, he later admitted four charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) and one count of coercive or controlling behaviour.
Helm was sentenced on the same day (Friday July 2) at Cambridge Crown Court, where he was handed four years in prison and an extended one year on licence.
DC Kevin Poole, who investigated, said: “The stories of abuse in this case are shocking and Helm clearly thought he could get away with making his girlfriend’s life a misery. He was wrong.
“No person should have to suffer this kind of abuse and I would like to applaud the woman’s bravery in coming forwards. I’d also like to thank the woman who offered a helping hand after walking past Helm’s girlfriend and spotting that something didn’t seem quite right.
“Domestic abuse isn’t always physical. Victims can instead suffer from the threat and fear of injury, daily intimidation and having every aspect of their life monitored and controlled. Coercive control is a criminal offence and we take all reports of it very seriously.
“We would strongly urge anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse to contact police or call the national domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247.”
To report concerns or for more advice and support on domestic abuse, including coercive control, visit the force’s dedicated web page: https://bit.ly/3qPqWV7