A MAN who made his partner feel “trapped”, "lost" and “completely isolated” due to his coercive and controlling behaviour has been jailed.

Terry O’Shaughnassy assaulted his victim, forced her to lie to medical staff about her injuries, monitored her social media use and subjected her to vile verbal abuse.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard O’Shaughnassy would take the woman’s car so she could not go out from her home other than walking distance.

The 34-year-old tormented the woman for months before she ended the relationship, at which point he tried “emotional blackmail” to get her back.

During the relationship he told her “you will obey me because you are my ****”.

Judge Robert Pawson said such actions were “misogynistic”.

The woman attended the court hearing by video link and in her victim impact statement she said she hopes no other woman has to suffer what she went through at the hands of the defendant.

Bournemouth Echo: Terry O'ShaughnassyTerry O'Shaughnassy

O’Shaughnassy, of Corbin Avenue, Ferndown, was jailed for two years and eight months.

The judge said: ”The only suitable punishment in a case of this severity is one of immediate custody.”

David Jenkins, prosecuting, detailed the physical and verbal abuse the defendant inflicted on the woman over many months of 2020 after he moved in with her in Manchester.

This included him punching her in the face while holding his phone in his hand, pushing her and causing her to fall and hit her head on a radiator, and bending her fingers which led to them swelling and bruising.

On more than one occasion she required hospital treatment, but the defendant would not let her go alone and forced her to lie to staff about how she got the injuries.

He would regularly check her phone, take control of her car and when she did go out walking he would call her and make derogatory comments.

The court heard that during the relationship last year she was driving on the motorway at 70mph with the defendant in the passenger seat when he applied the handbrake causing the car to swerve. He then assaulted her.

The victim took the decision to end the relationship in autumn 2020 after the defendant "pushed her over the edge" when he eavesdropped on a conversation she had with her mother.

Mr Jenkins said she told the defendant to leave her home and bought him a train ticket to Bournemouth - where he lived before moving in.

He left at the start of October and apologised for everything he had done, however, the defendant soon began sending abusive messages.

It came to light he had logged into her Facebook account without her knowledge.

Mr Jenkins said: "He harassed her by WhatsApp, voice message and text message."

The prosecutor said he was still trying to control her and get her to take him back.

After reporting the defendant’s persistent behaviour to police late in 2020, the victim would go on to tell officers: “I feel lucky to still be alive.”

She also said that "it was as if he was trying to trap me in my own home, I felt lost" and "I do not think Terry has any idea of the impact he has had on my life".

Doctors concluded she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the defendant's behaviour.

The court heard that O'Shaughnassy had accumulated fines and motoring offences when using the victim’s vehicle, which had left her facing court action and points on her licence. He also caused damage to the car.

Mr Jenkins said following the defendant's disclosure to police, officers sought to locate the defendant and speak with him. A message was shared among forces that the defendant was wanted.

In January of this year, O'Shaughnassy was implicated in an unrelated matter and detained by police in Dorset before being arrested for his behaviour towards the woman.

In police interview, he said there were a "few verbal arguments but no physical altercations", the court heard.

The victim had been able to secretly take photographs of the injuries the defendant had caused during the relationship and these were shared with police.

During his interview, the defendant said he had not seen her with the injuries and he had not caused them.

Mr Jenkins told the court: "In essence he denied all of the offending". 

However, O'Shaughnassy was charged with controlling and/or coercive behaviour and he pleaded guilty at an earlier crown court hearing.

Reading her victim impact statement during the hearing, the woman said that "it felt impossible to speak out".

She told the court: "He made me feel trapped and isolated from the world. I was genuinely scared of what Terry was capable of."

The victim went on to say "this man is more than capable of killing someone".

She added: “I really hope Terry realises how his actions impact on people.

“I pray I am the last woman who has to go through this pain.”

Nick Robinson, mitigating, said the defendant was sorry and remorseful for what he had done, adding: “He hopes in time the victim will understand he means it.”

The barrister said his client wants to make a “positive change” and he had taken “demonstrable steps” to address his behaviour.

The court heard the defendant had ADHD and OCD, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder from an experience in his childhood.

Judge Pawson said the victim had to show a “great deal of courage” to end the relationship and even after this point, O’Shaughnassy “bombarded her with messages”, which included him saying "I'm going to snap your neck".

He told the defendant that it was “hard to imagine” how any man could act the way he had towards a woman, especially given the offender is a father-of-two with a daughter.

Of the five higher culpability factors in cases of coercive and controlling behaviour, the judge said O’Shaughnassy “ticked” four of them – his conduct was intended to maximise fear or distress, it was persistent over a prolonged period, he used multiple methods of behaviour and there was conduct intended to humiliate and degrade the victim.

The case, which Judge Pawson described as "particularly bad", was aggravated by the defendant's previous convictions, the number of factors relating to culpability and harm caused, his efforts to prevent her telling somebody about what had happened and he had left her in financial debt.

The prison sentence was reduced by 25 per cent - a statutory discount - due to the defendant's guilty plea.

The judge also issued an indefinite restraining order.

O’Shaughnassy received a sentence of 31 months’ imprisonment for controlling and coercive behaviour and one month consecutive for breach of a suspended sentence order.

Dorset Police has a web page with information specifically addressing coercive and controlling behaviour. To find out more click here.