POLICE used mobile phone footage to prosecute a husband for sexually abusing his wife even though she refused to give evidence against him.

The 35-year-old defendant, who cannot be identified to preserve his victim’s anonymity, has been jailed for ten years in what Northumbria Police said was a first for the force.

The judge said it was a truly horrendous offence and the woman was the subject of an exercise in punishment and humiliation.

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Police were first called by the wife who told officers she had been raped at home, and she handed police her phone.

Disturbing footage showed her in a drug or alcohol-induced state being abused as she wept and begged for her husband to stop.

She initially co-operated with police, but within a few months refused to go to court and retracted her complaint.

The man claimed he needed to prove his wife drank alcohol and she was unfaithful, so made the video for his divorce proceedings.

Police said there was no evidence she was having an affair.

Inspector Paul Young said: “This sentence sends out a message to people who think they are outside the law with behaviour which cannot be excused by any community or religion and we will, where we can, take forward a prosecution without a victim to protect that person and the wider community in which these people live.”