Physical and sexual abuse within marriages and other intimate relationships is by its nature often hard to prove. However, with the assistance of specialist family lawyers, a woman succeeded in establishing that her husband had for years subjected her to a relentless campaign of rape and extreme cruelty.
In seeking contact with his 13-year-old son, the husband denied that he had been in any way abusive towards his wife. He said that he was shocked and devastated by her allegations and that the marriage had in fact been a happy one. His account fell apart, however, after he was subjected to expert cross-examination by the wife’s legal team during a High Court fact-finding hearing.
The Court found that he had repeatedly raped the wife before and during their long marriage. As a form of sadistic control during their honeymoon, he had forced her to eat her meals whilst sitting naked on a bed under an air conditioning unit on full. He had subjected her to violence in front of their older children, now adults, slapping her and smashing a glass into her face when drunk.
He continued his campaign to assault, emotionally harm and terrorise the wife even after they separated and she fled to a women’s refuge. He, or others on his behalf, threw sausages laced with razor blades over her fence with the intention of harming her dog. Her cat had been killed and its dead body left on her doorstep. She had been viciously attacked by an assailant acting on her husband’s instructions, suffering extensive bruising and cracked teeth.
The Court found that the husband’s actions had caused the wife serious physical and emotional harm, which was likely to have been sensed by her youngest son, either directly or indirectly. That probably explained why the boy had no wish to see his father. The Court’s factual findings were likely to have a decisive impact on the husband’s child contact application.