Husband cleared of coercive control of wife

Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court.

Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court. - Credit: Google Maps

A husband who was accused of pressuring his wife into paying £50,000 of a divorce settlement to his ex-wife has been cleared of coercive control.

Richard Gardiner, of Heywood Road, Diss, was found not guilty of engaging in a controlling relationship with his wife in Wymondham following a three-day trial at Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court.

On Thursday, February 18, he told the court business struggles had put a "great deal of strain" on their relationship over a period of more than three-and-a-half years between January 1, 2016 and October 4, 2019.

The 57-year-old told the court his business, which he founded in 2002, had left him more than £200,000 in debt.

Earlier this week, the court heard Gardiner had threatened to take his own life if his victim did not give him £50,000 towards that settlement, which she agreed to after "months of heavy pressure."

Giving evidence, Gardiner told the court: "I believe we had a good marriage, but the impact of a debilitating business struggle as a person was catastrophic.

"The pressure of going to work on a Monday morning knowing I would lose thousands of pounds by the weekend was putting a great deal of strain on my personal life.

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Gardiner also accepted letting air of out one of his wife's tyres one Christmas Eve, although said it was not enough to prevent the car from being driven, and denied using the Find My Friends app to track her whereabouts.

He admitted, however, following his ex-wife on one occasion because of his "insecurities".

While magistrates found some of Gardiner's actions to be controlling, they did not believe it amounts to coercive control.

The court had previously heard Gardiner's wife stopped going to the gym after facing pressure over her "standard gym clothes."

Giving evidence on Thursday, Gardiner said: "I didn't particularly like my wife getting all dolled up because she looked very alluring.

"I may have suggested that she didn't go but I never demanded it.

"She was able to make her own decisions and if she wanted to do something, she would."

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