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Terrified mum told to lock doors as abuser escapes from prison

PUBLISHED: 11:41 12 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:42 12 December 2019

Daniel Coe. PIC: Norfolk Police.

Daniel Coe. PIC: Norfolk Police.

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The victim of a harrowing domestic abuse ordeal has revealed how she has been told by police to lock her windows and doors and leave her home after her ex-partner absconded from prison.

Norwich Prison. Photo : Steve AdamsNorwich Prison. Photo : Steve Adams

The 32-year-old mother, who wanted to remain anonymous, described feeling "worried and angry" when she heard the news that 40-year-old Daniel Coe had managed to abscond from HMP Norwich earlier this month.

"Police asked me to keep all windows and doors closed and locked, and to stay with someone else if I could," she said. "Also to call if I saw him or heard from him.

"I'm worried that he's still not caught and that he could start his life over yet again and continue to do this."

Coe, from Bury St Edmunds, is serving a sentence for domestic abuse offences, and escaped from the Knox Road prison at about 9.30am on Sunday, December 1.

Within hours, officers appeared at the victim's door to explain what had happened and she described feeling "concerned, unsure and angry".

Speaking out for the first time about her ordeal, she explained how Coe stalked and harassed her for months, leaving her terrified for her and her children's lives.

She first met Coe back in April 2017 via a dating website, and said he seemed like "the perfect gentlemen".

"In the beginning he was very keen and enthusiastic," she said. "He seemed very genuine and like a nice guy.

"But after four months, his behaviour became emotionally erratic and he had mood swings.

"He had always called me lots but the phone calls became more frequent and he would get annoyed if I didn't answer in time.

"He became jealous of other men and we frequently argued about how much sex we had or didn't have.

"As things intensified, I realised it wasn't normal and felt like he was trying to control me and who I could be around. I felt he was very jealous of my kids and this made me feel worried."

Things finally reached a head after he went out drinking one weekend with friends. He rang several times and left multiple voicemail messages, calling her abusive names and making accusations of cheating.

"It was like an explosion - I decided to walk away that very night.

"He took it badly. His mood swings intensified and he continuously called me for the next few days."

Coe went on to steal money from her and by October 2017 fabricated a diagnoses of prostate cancer. It was during one final phone call in November that another bombshell revealed itself.

During the same time, the victim's mother and aunt had become increasingly concerned and began researching information about him.

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"He was very upset and said he was going to kill himself.

"When I told my mum that he had called, she looked very shocked.

"She explained to me that she had received a couple of messages from his phone saying he had killed himself. Another message thanked people for coming to the funeral. My mum tried to find a news article or a report about it, but couldn't.

"Once I discovered that he was unstable enough to fake his own death, I knew he was a dangerous person.

"I did some research and discovered he had past convictions and I decided to go straight to the police."

She had kept a log of all correspondence and was able to give the police a substantial amount of evidence. Although "worried and scared", she praised the efforts of officers.

Eventually Coe was arrested and sentenced to prison in May this year, after pleading guilty to two counts of stalking.

She added: "I thought that would be the end of it until his release but then I found out he'd escaped."

Since her ordeal, she has been granted a restraining order for life and wants to see more awareness of Clare's Law raised. It gives any member of the public the right to ask the police if their partner may pose a risk to them.

- If you, or someone you know, is affected by these issues then please call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

- Who is Daniel Coe?

Daniel Coe, 40, from Bury St Edmunds, is serving a sentence for domestic abuse offences, and absconded from the Knox Road prison at about 9.30am on Sunday, December 1.

Coe is white, approximately 5ft 9in with short brown hair, and possibly a beard.

He has a Mickey Mouse tattoo on his right upper arm and a Taz and Daffy Duck tattoo on his left arm and is likely to be wearing grey tracksuit bottoms.

Coe is known to frequent the Stalham, Norwich and Bury St Edmunds areas.

A spokesman for the Prison Service said: "We are working closely with Norfolk Police to recapture Daniel Coe who will face further punishment once caught. Absconds from open prison are extremely rare with only one in the four years to March 2019 from HMP Norwich."

- Anyone who may have seen Coe should call police on 101.

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