A man has been given an extended six-year sentence for “ruthlessly” beating up his girlfriend and holding her hostage for a week to hide her injuries.
Christopher Cooksey, 33, wanted to keep his partner as his “virginal sex robot” but began abusing her after becoming jealous of her previous relationships with other men.
A court heard Cooksey started a relationship with Stephanie Watkis, 29, after meeting her in a gym in September 2017, but weeks later he carried out the first of a string of attacks on her.
In one incident in December he found a picture on her phone of a man she had been “interested in” two years previously.
Cooksey, from Glosters Parade, Pontypool, Gwent, repeatedly punched her while she lay in bed, leaving her with a black eye and a bruised arm before forcing her to drink a bottle of rum.
He then kept her as his “prisoner” for a week to hide her physical injuries, and used her phone to tell her employers she would be off work following a car crash.
Cooksey also controlled Watkis’s choice of clothes and make-up, and stole her phone, cutting her off from family and friends after she moved into his flat and rendering her “utterly dependent” on him.
On Wednesday, prosecutor Roger Griffiths read a victim impact statement from Watkis, who said she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression because of the violent relationship.
Watkis said: “He always used to say ‘this is not a game’ and that’s what I hear in my nightmares.
“He’s hugely impacted my social skills and I’m now very distrustful of people.
“Before, I was a bubbly, friendly and welcoming person. I was carefree. This is no longer the case.”
Cooksey was found guilty of two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault and false imprisonment following a trial at Newport Crown Court.
Harry Baker, defending, told the court at the sentencing hearing that Cooksey had no previous convictions, and both his client and Watkis had admitted it was a “bad relationship”.
Baker said: “It can be when you are in one you do things you wouldn’t normally do, and won’t do again.”
Judge Thomas Crowther QC said Cooksey became “obsessed” with how many other men Watkis had slept with before him.
“It became very quickly clear that you had a fragile ego, a thin-skinned nature and a vile temper.
“I have no doubt you wanted Watkis to be your partner, but not as a human, a woman, but rather as a canvas upon which you could project your fantasy image of a woman who had no history, no past, no family, no interest except you.
“She didn’t match your desire for some blank virginal sex robot.
“You attacked her, punching her as she lay on the floor curled into a ball, as she put it, ‘like a dog’.
“You isolated her within your home. You made her subject to your dominance. You enforced that by ruthless violence, using your physical power to subjugate her, and by demeaning behaviour.
“You have caused serious physical and enduring psychological harm. You drove her to the brink of tragedy.”
Cooksey was given a six-year extended sentence, meaning he will spend four in custody before he is released on licence.
He was also given a 10-year restraining order in relation to Watkis.