A man who behaved in a controlling and aggressive manner with women in successive relationships has been jailed for 32 months.

Richard Colquhoun was said to have issues of “jealousy” with his partner of eight months, between December 2022 and last July, so much so, that she came off social media.

Durham Crown Court heard that on one occasion she changed her password on her mobile phone and the defendant tried to access the device.

Dr Chris Wood, for the Crown, said the complainant describing the defendant “going mental” at this as he assumed, “she was up to something”.

The Northern Echo: Richard Colquhoun jailed for controllling and coercive behaviour, plus assault on former partner of

The prosecutor told the court: “During the relationship the victim explained he would go onto her account and ‘block’ various people and she wasn’t aware he was doing it.”

He said, similarly, he did this with her Instagram account.

When she received messages she would tell Colquhoun, who would then check her phone, while he also accessed her bank account and questioned her about her spending.

Dr Wood said the culmination of the offending was on July 21 when they were both drinking at a crazy golf-themed venue in Newcastle where the defendant accused her of having used her phone.

She denied it and handed him the phone to prove it, but he continued to ask her what she was doing, in an aggressive manner.

Due to their arguments, they cut short the evening out and returned to Colquhoun’s home address, but the rowing continued, and it reached a point where the complainant, who was partially undressed, fled the house and ran to a neighbouring property, seeking help.

Dr Wood said doorbell camera footage from that property showed her “clearly distressed” and Colquhoun was seen arriving on the drive way of the neighbouring home, holding her phone in his hand.

He approached her in an aggressive manner and threw her to the ground, before leaving the scene.

Dr Wood said this was, “indicative of the way he behaved through the relationship.”

The victim sought refuge in the neighbouring property and police were called.

The Northern Echo: She suffered bruising and scrape marks and was unable to get her phone back until the following day when she went back to the defendant’s property when he was not there.

Police were looking for Colquhoun, who was arrested and remanded in custody on July 23, but he made a successful bail application.

Days later that decision was overturned and he was again remanded in custody, from where he contacted the complainant in letters apparently written on his behalf by cell mates, who would not have known her address.

Dr Wood said they were written to put “emotional pressure” on the woman not to pursue any police complaint, as he feared receiving a full prison sentence.

Colquhoun, 42, of Sevenacres, Great Lumley, near Chester-le-Street, admitted controlling and coercive behaviour in a relationship and assault causing actual bodily harm, but only on the day he was due to go on trial, last week.

In her impact statement, the victim said Colquhoun, “greatly affected my life”, and she has since lost sleep fearing he would break into her home, with her anxiety described as, “through the roof”, having suffered panic attacks and always left feeling, “on edge”.

She said she lost her job due to the time taken off in the wake of her experiences with the defendant and she said she has suffered financial hardship due to his control over her money.

The court heard the defendant has nine convictions for 15 offences, the last being for the battery of a previous partner, in April 2022.

Dr Wood said the latest conviction put him in breach of the community order he received for that offence.

Brian Mark, in mitigation, presented references to the court on his client’s behalf, including one from another former partner, who said there had been no abusive or aggressive behaviour on the defendant’s behalf in that long-term relationship.

Mr Mark said the defendant intends to go back into a relationship with his previous former partner, despite the battery conviction of April 2022, upon his release from prison.

He said the defendant wants to put his past offending behind him and, being a qualified hgv driver, can immediately return to well-paid work when he is released.

Judge Jo Kidd told Colquhoun his behaviour to his last partner had a significant impact on her, causing her, “serious alarm and distress.”

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The judge said the victim has described, “a particularly unhappy, toxic and frightening” relationship with the defendant, which she said, “mirrors the carbon copy” of his behaviour with his previous partner.

She told Colquhoun he was, “threatening, aggressive, unstable and controlling, obsessed with the idea of her seeing other people.”

Imposing the 32-month sentence (two years and eight months), Judge Kidd also put in place a restraining order forbidding the defendant from approaching or contacting his, now, ex-partner for ten years.