Coercive control: Man whose partner hanged herself is jailed for 41 months for abuse and assaulting her

A man who admitted coercive control over his partner has been jailed - after court hears campaign of abuse preceded her hanging herself
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A man has been jailed for a campaign of coercive control against his partner - which culminated in her taking her own life.

Marc Masterton, 26, was in a relationship with Chloe Holland. He has been jailed for 41 months after admitting coercive control. Portsmouth Crown Court heard that he would routinely control her appearance, assault her, isolate her from friends and family, belittle her, and tell her to take her own life.

The charges against Masterton, formerly of Montgomerie Road in Southsea, Hampshire, relate to between January 1, 2022 and February 1 this year. Police said that on 1 February Ms Holland hanged herself and died in hospital. The abuse was carried out all over Hampshire, with assaults taking place in hotels and hostels and on public transport and on one occasion, at Masterton’s home, the victim threatened to kill herself after he assaulted her with a dumbbell. In response, Masterton handed her a knife and ordered her to harm herself.

Appearing at Portsmouth Crown Court on August 16 this year, Masterton admitted a charge of coercive and controlling behaviour. The sentencing hearing took place on October 6 at the same court and during the hearing, the court heard that the physical and psychological impact of the abuse significantly contributed to the demise of the woman’s mental health.

The case was investigated by Police Staff Investigator Nikki Brogan, who said: “This is one of the most appalling and heart-breaking cases of domestic abuse I have ever come across. The violence, control and psychological abuse suffered by this poor young woman absolutely destroyed her life. She felt there was no escape from her abuser. Her family said that during the times she was away from Masterton she seemed positive, but when he drew her back into his web of abuse she simply disappeared – becoming withdrawn and unable to eat.

“This man is pure evil. What he did was utterly unforgivable, and the judge remarked that he is clearly a danger to women before sending him to prison.

“Sadly, the victim in this case was unable to see justice served, but I want it to be known that she was so brave, and it was because of her evidence, her strength, her courage that this despicable man is now behind bars.”

A heart-breaking statement from the woman’s mother was read out in court and it detailed how the abuse affected the wider family, stating that she will be ‘scarred forever’ as a result of the abuse which drained the life from her daughter.

Other horrifying instances of abuse were relayed to the court, including an incident at a Travelodge whereby Masterton beat the victim whilst stating aloud, ‘say goodbye to your son’.

The court heard that Masterton would deliberately give the victim black eyes so she would not be able to see her son.

He also tracked her phone, and even when she was able to break away from the relationship and seek refuge, he found her and sucked her back into his cycle of abuse.

On January 30 this year, Masterton ordered the victim to accompany him to Romsey where he made attempts to steal cars. He then took a vehicle and drove the pair of them to Portchester where he subsequently crashed.

Prior to the collision, the victim was ordered to use a bank card that was found in the car to make purchases from a petrol station, and did so on Masterton’s command due to fear of extreme violence if she did not comply. He ensured that she used the stolen bank card so that his face would not be picked up on CCTV.

As well as the 41 months for coercive control, Masterton was handed an additional four months to be served consecutively for the aggravated vehicle taking in Romsey.

Detective Chief Inspector Nikki Burton added: “The evidence gathered over the course of this investigation is harrowing, and my thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim in this case.

“Domestic abusers perpetrate some of the worst offending imaginable, leaving lifelong physical and emotional scars on those affected.

“We do not tolerate any form of it. We investigate instances of domestic abuse as a Force priority, and will do everything in our power to work with specialist support services to help victims.

“I commend the bravery of the woman in this case who reported the abuse to police. Her evidence was used posthumously as she had sadly died before this case reached the courts, but the power of her words and her evidence has helped protect other women by ensuring a domestic abuser has been jailed.

“I want other people out there who are being abused and suffering in silence to please report this. I encourage you to speak to police, but recognise that not everyone will have the confidence to do so immediately. We are here for you and will listen, but if you don’t want to speak to a police officer there are independent support services out there that can give you the help you need.”

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