Victim support charity slams sentence handed to domestic abuser

Aidan Stolworthy, from Brisley, near Dereham, was jailed for coercive control and attacking his former partner

Aidan Stolworthy, from Brisley, near Dereham, was jailed for coercive control and attacking his former partner - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

A domestic abuse charity has slammed the jail term given to a man who subjected his partner to brutal violence and years of coercive control.

Aidan Stolworthy, of Gateley Road in Brisley, between Dereham and Fakenham, exercised “significant control” over his former partner between 2015 and 2021. 

This extended to what she did, where she went and who she saw, Norwich Crown Court heard. 

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Aidan Stolworthy was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court to three years in jail - Credit: Archant

The 38-year-old's treatment of the victim culminated in a “prolonged and persistent” attack at their home on March 17 last year - after she refused his demands to access her phone. 

Stolworthy was last week sentenced to three years in prison after admitting actual bodily harm (ABH), criminal damage and controlling and coercive behaviour.

But the Daisy Programme, a charity which supports Breckland-based domestic abuse victims, said the punishment was inadequate considering the lengthy period of offending. 

"Once again the punishment does not fit the crime," a spokesman added.

PICTURE POSED BY MODEL A shadow of a man with a clenched fist as a woman cowers in the corner. Polic

The Daisy Programme has criticised the sentence given to domestic abuser Aidan Stolworthy - Credit: PA

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"The victim was subjected to sustained abuse over many years. It is highly improbable that this was the first time a physical assault took place.

"To live through years of systematic abuse would have an enormous emotional impact on the victim's wellbeing.

"Very often the physical abuse is the lesser of two evils, as the emotional scars and subsequent recovery can go on for many years."

The Daisy Programme said the sentence was all the more disappointing given Stolworthy will likely spend only 18 months behind bars. 

Aidan Stolworthy, from Brisley, near Dereham, was jailed for coercive control and attacking his former partner

Aidan Stolworthy, from Brisley, near Dereham, was jailed for coercive control and attacking his former partner - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

For most offences punishable by jail time, automatic release is granted half-way through before the remainder is spent on licence. 

The spokesman added: "There needs more education within the court system on continued domestic abuse, rather than just jailing someone who, in essence, will only spend 18 months in prison for one convicted incident.

"It is sad as this lady could very easily have lost her life. Sometimes it takes a death for a significant sentence to be imposed, but the lady in question could live with a life sentence through trauma alone."

Revised sentencing guidelines introduced in 2018 made it more likely that convicted domestic abusers would be sent to prison.

The government brought in measures this year to ensure victims would be allowed more time to report attacks.