Husband 'tracked and controlled' wife during marriage - court hears

A man has pleaded guilty at Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court to charges of voyeurism PHOTO: Google

Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court - Credit: Archant

A woman has claimed her husband would track her, control her money and read emails and texts during a controlling marriage lasting years.

Richard Anthony Gardiner, of Heywood Road in Diss, denies one charge of coercive and controlling behaviour over his wife between January 1, 2016 and October 4, 2019 in Wymondham.

A trial, which began at Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, February 16, heard evidence from his wife, who accused Gardiner of making her send him £50,000 to pay his ex-wife, as well as tracking her whereabouts with the Find My Friends app.

She said: "I would take the path of least resistance where I could because the consequences were quite debilitating and I was never anywhere I shouldn't be and had nothing to hide it.

"If I said no he would barrage me with questions, asking where I was going or if I was having an affair.

"He was playing emotionally draining mind games and it was extremely upsetting."

She added that on one occasion he had admitted to her that he had been unfaithful while away on a seminar to give up smoking.

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She added: "I was devastated and I couldn't function or think."

For several months during the three year period, the alleged victim claims Gardiner pressured her to give him £50,000 to pay debts to his ex-wife.

She said: "He started putting huge amounts of pressure on me for months to give him that to pay part of his debt.

"I told him it was everything I had but he would ring me up at work and say if I loved him I would give it to him."

She also claimed he instructed a tenant at a flat she owned to pay rent into Gardiner's individual account following his business struggles.

She said: "There didn't need to be violence. He shouted and it was intimidating and threatening and abusive.

"He'd fallen out with his mum and sister and he wanted me to make a decision about where to see them for Christmas because he didn't want them to come to the house.

"I told him family was the most important thing in the world and I would support whatever he wanted to do, but it had to be his decision.

"If something went wrong he would blame me because nothing was ever his fault.

"I went upstairs to diffuse the situation and when I came back I heard banging and crashing. He threw a plant pot and a kettle full of just-boiled water across the kitchen.

"On Christmas Eve he believed I was going to leave him so he let the air out of my tyre then locked all the doors and windows in the house and hid the key."

Gardiner, who has no previous convictions, denies locking his wife in the house and denied the water in the kettle was boiling, although he accepts throwing things across the kitchen.

He also denies an allegation that he threatened to kill his wife.

After separating, Gardiner sent his wife an email of "rules", including for conjugal visits.

She replied saying she was feeling unwell, telling the court: "I told him we could discuss it later because it was the only was to stop him bombarding me with calls while I went to the police station."

The court heard another email, in which she said he was "loving, forgiving and caring" and that she wanted the pair to "grow old together."

She told the magistrates: "He requested I write him an email to explain our relationship.

"I wrote two but I couldn't send the first one or he would have gone into crisis mode.

"For the few weeks when he was okay, that was how I felt."

The woman also claimed she stopped going to the gym after he claimed her "standard" gym clothes would "attract attention", and said Gardiner "insisted" she change plans for her 50th birthday holiday to Cyprus with her family as "he hadn't chosen where to go".

The trial continues and is set to resume on Thursday, February 18.

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