A MAN was branded “a violent, nasty thug” over his bullying behaviour in an oppressive two-year relationship with a woman.

Thomas Sike was verbally abusive to his partner, who he would belittle in public and she felt she was being shut off from the outside world by his actions.

Durham Crown Court heard he cut-off her communications with her family and friends, telling her she, “only needed” him.

He prevented her celebrating family birthdays or Christmas, saying it was all, “commercial bulls**t.”

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said the woman felt every time they rowed she would have to back down and say sorry.

“She said she had been supressed, bullied and controlled from the day she met him.”

After one row about money he flung round a pair of jeans, with the belt attached, striking her with the buckle.

In other incidents he flung chairs, threw the tv remote control at his partner and pushed her out of the front door.

Despite a one-month gap when he left, he returned claiming to try to change and find work to provide for the family.

But he soon returned to type, “flipping” after another row about money claiming the world was run by women.

Mr Dodds said the victim decided to leave when the Covid lockdown eased, which she did on March 11, after he came home angrily shouting at her, throwing things around, telling her: “I’m violent. I do have a temper. If you don’t like it, f**k off.”

Taking her car keys, she walked out and rang the police.

Mr Dodds said she drove around in the vicinity awaiting the arrival of police, but he came looking for her, trying to force her off country roads, off the A68, near Heighington, and then attempting to block her in.

Sike climbed onto her car, forced open the door, trying to drag her out and grab her phone.

Trembling in fear for her life, she managed to shut the door and drive to the A68, where she saw a police car approaching.

Sike was arrested and accepted arguing, but claimed he went after her to check on her welfare.

The 35-year-old joiner, now of Broxburn, in Scotland, admitted controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate family relationship, making threats to kill and dangerous driving, ten days before his scheduled trial.

Martin Towers, for Sike, said he has no past convictions and referred to a pre-sentence report assessing him as a “low risk” of future offending, believing the Probation Service can work with him to address his behaviour.

Judge Ray Singh said despite behaving, “like a violent, nasty thug”, he would see if probation assistance could help in his case.

He imposed a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, during which Sike will undergo probation supervision, with 240-hours’ unpaid work.

The judge also put in place a lifetime restraining order, preventing him from attempting to approach or contact his former partner.

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