Abusive woman forced partner to sleep on the floor and prevented him from eating

Sarah Rigby pleaded guilty to controlling and coercive behaviour  (PA )
Sarah Rigby pleaded guilty to controlling and coercive behaviour (PA )

A woman who forced her partner to sleep on a cold floor with no duvet and caused him to lose four stone in weight has avoided jail.

Sarah Rigby subjected her victim to a nine-month ordeal in which she controlled his finances, his showering and his relationship with friends and family.

The 41-year-old, of Winsford in Cheshire, pleaded guilty to controlling and coercive behaviour and was given a 20-month prison sentence which has been suspended for two years.

Chester Crown Court heard the couple started a relationship in July 2021 after meeting on a dating website, with Rigby quickly becoming controlling and forcing her partner to move into her property within months.

Despite her father already owning the property, he was forced to pay £700 a month in rent and was told to store all his belongings in the garage.

She was handed a suspended sentence at Chester Crown Court (PA Archive)
She was handed a suspended sentence at Chester Crown Court (PA Archive)

She quickly took control of all his finances, cut him off from his family and friends and refusing to allow him to be in the house alone, despite his job requiring him to work from home.

Rigby also prevented him from showering or defecating at her house, meaning he had to use the local gym to wash. She would search him before he entered and left the property, to ensure she approved of all the items in his possession.

She would punish him by physically assaulting him, preventing him from eating and forcing him to sleep on the floor with no duvet and the windows open, causing him to eventually lose four stone in weight over the course of nine months.

Her victim was also subjected to verbal and psychological abuse, and was repeatedly called fat, disgusting and ugly.

In March 2022, he contacted Cheshire Police to report her actions after receiving help from a men’s domestic abuse helpline, and she was charged.

Despite pleading guilty, Rigby has shown “no remorse” for her actions and continued to taunt her victim by refusing to return his belongings and constantly delaying court proceedings, police said.

Following the sentencing, detective constable Sophie Ward said: “Firstly, I would like to praise the victim for having the courage to speak out, as well as the bravery that he has shown throughout the investigation.

“This is the worst case of controlling and coercive behaviour I have ever seen.

“Rigby had a stranglehold on the victim. Through her coercive behaviour she was able to control everything he did, cutting him off from everyone he knew and leaving him trapped, feeling like he had nowhere to turn.”

She continued: “Many people think that only women can be victims of controlling and coercive behaviour, but as this case demonstrates, that is not always the case and there is help available.”

If you need non-judgemental information and support regarding domestic violence and abuse, women can call the Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 for free at any time, day or night. Men can call Men’s Advice Line on 0808 8010 327 (Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm), or visit the webchat (Wednesday 10am to 11.30am and 2.30pm to 4pm).