A woman has spoken out about the mental and emotional impact of being controlled by her now ex-partner after he was given a suspended prison sentence.

It comes after Robert Goucher, 49, of Leeming Lane North, Mansfield Woodhouse, pleaded guilty to a charge of engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour.

He also pleaded guilty to possession of a Class B drug (amphetamine) with intent to supply and supplying a Class B drug (cannabis).

Goucher was handed a 22-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was also made subject of an indefinite restraining order to prevent any future contact with the survivor when he appeared at Nottingham Crown Court for sentencing on 28 January 2021.

During their relationship Goucher’s controlling and coercive behaviour included assault and use of violence, sexual coercion, damaging property, monitoring the survivor’s whereabouts and preventing her from going to work.

During one of the incidents Goucher let her car tyres down to prevent her from leaving the address in order to go to work.

The survivor, who has asked to remain anonymous, gave an account of her ordeal.

She said: “At the time I thought our relationship was the same as everyone else’s. It is only since I left him that I have a different viewpoint.

“I now think how didn’t I pick up on this before and how could I have been so stupid? It was just a gradual, creeping control that, before I realised, I was in and trapped. He always said ‘you’ll never be able to leave me’.

“My life now is so much better without him being a part of it but I do still have nightmares.”

Detective Constable Neil Hollinshead, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “I would like to pay tribute to the bravery shown by the woman in this case in coming forward.

“I hope that this conviction demonstrates our commitment to survivors of these types of offences, and that when incidents are reported our officers will do everything in their power to bring offenders to justice.

“Perpetrators of domestic abuse need to understand that even when their abusive behaviour is behind closed doors, it does not mean that they cannot be caught and brought to justice.

“I also hope this conviction reminds other survivors that they are not alone.

“I cannot stress enough that we are there for everyone in their time of need and I want people who are in a difficult position to be aware of the ways in which they can still report abuse to us and access support.

“We understand how difficult it can be to seek help and what a very big step this can be to come forward, however I’d like to make it clear that if you do come to us for help we will listen to you, we will take you seriously and we will take action to help you.

“If you are in danger, please call 999 and we will come to your aid.

“If you feel more comfortable seeking support from another organisation such as a charity then that is fine, but I want you to know that the police are here to help you.”

The Make Yourself Heard campaign. Credit: Women’s Aid

Nottinghamshire Police is part of the Make Yourself Heard Campaign, which aims to show people how they can report an emergency when it is not safe to speak.

Dialling 55 after calling 999 takes you through to a silent call service, whereby call handlers will give you specific directions on how to report your emergency.

Support is also available via the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline number – run by Refuge – on 0808 2000 247 and online.

In Nottingham support is also available from Juno Women’s Aid which is the largest domestic abuse organisation in Nottingham and one of the largest in the UK.

They work with women, children, and teens who have been affected by domestic abuse in Ashfield, Broxtowe, Gedling, Nottingham City, and Rushcliffe.

Juno’s Women’s Aid can be contacted by phone on 0808 800 0340 (free, 24/7) or by email.

For more information about Juno Women’s Aid visit their website.

Equation is a Nottingham-based specialist charity for male sufferers of domestic abuse.

The charity works with the whole community to reduce the impact of domestic abuse, sexual violence and gender inequality and can be contacted on 0115 960 5556.

For more information visit their website.

For more information on domestic abuse, including ways to report and organisations which can help you, visit Nottinghamshire Police’s website.


By Elliot Ball