After twenty years of marital strife, Richard Spencer finally had enough and took his wife Sheree to court. Throughout their long-term relationship, she had often subjected him to violent outbursts and physical abuse – something the judge called “the worst case of controlling and coercive behavior” seen in the legal system. With three daughters in tow, this courageous father is determined to take a stand against abusive relationships so that no one else has to suffer as he did.
As Richard faced Sheree in court, fear overwhelmed him; the only thing that kept him going was his “focus on a spot on a piece of furniture and stare at it to get through it.”
Over the course of their two decades together, Richard would don makeup to cover up Sheree’s bruises that resulted from her regular assault on him. Despite his shame and trepidation at being a victim of domestic violence, he needed others to remain unaware of what was happening in his marriage.
“I felt absolutely nothing the few times I glanced across at Sheree,” Richard said. “I didn’t feel anger. I didn’t feel scared. I didn’t have any emotion. But I was hyper-conscious of how my family was reacting when the judge described the horrific things she’d done.”
Richard is still overcome with guilt and remorse stemming from the years of domestic abuse he endured by his hostile spouse. Nevertheless, a judge interceded on his behalf bringing an end to her control over him and granting him freedom at last.
“To hear the judge use the same language Sheree used — the f-word and the c-word — the things she called me like ‘bitch’ and knowing my family was hearing those things was . . .” he sighed, his voice faltering as he endeavored to find the words to accurately convey the torture endured by him due to his wife.
He continued, “When I think about those memories, I don’t feel associated to them. It’s like they happened to someone else. I know it was me, but in my mind, I can’t understand how I could have allowed that to happen.”
Sheree was sent to four years in prison at the Hull Crown Court due to her disturbing behavior. She admitted guilt for coercive and controlling conduct, as well as three counts of assault which sometimes resulted in physical harm.
Sheree would unconscionably mistreat Richard, frequently spitting and hurling whatever was nearby at him – be it her mobile phone, the remote, or a bottle. Her fists and hands were not off-limits either as she had no qualms about dishing out physical abuse.
Seemingly a stroke of luck, Richard was fortunate enough to have the evidence of his wife’s violence captured on the security camera in their children’s playroom. Brandishing a knife, she dragged him across the floor, kicking and punching as her shouts echoed in his ears “Get the f***ing chicken on! Get to the f***ing shop. You will learn!”
Richard stated, “When the things that have happened to me upset someone else, I feel guilty. I just feel that no normal person would have let that happen.”