Man jailed for seven years over coercive behaviour which left victim 'shattered'

Ashley Wilton.

Ashley Wilton. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

A victim of coercive behaviour has spoken of her long-lasting trauma after being held against her will, as the man responsible was jailed for seven years.

Ashley Wilton, of St Benedict's Street in Norwich, appeared at Norwich Crown Court on Monday, November 30 and was handed seven years in prison and an indefinite restraining order.

He was found guilty of two counts of engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour with two women, two counts of assault and one count of false imprisonment relating to incidents which happened between December 2015 and February this year at an earlier hearing.

It follows an incident on February 17 this year when Wilton assaulted a woman at a property in Norwich, held her against her will and withheld her phone, deleting contacts stored on it.

He logged into her social media accounts and sent messages to other people pretending to be the victim, the court heard.

In a personal impact statement the victim said she had difficulty coming to terms with what happened and said it "shattered who I was and thought myself to be".

"I hope that in time I will be able to get my life fully back on track but I can honestly say that the last few years have been wasted. It was very traumatic for me," she said.

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Wilton, 29, had previously been arrested on December 9 last year at a shop in Norwich city centre after another woman told police he had controlled who she saw and where she went, turning up unexpectedly at her work and home. He was later charged with one count of engaging in controlling or coercive behaviour.

The second victim said, in a personal statement, that she still found it difficult to make friends and talk to people.

"Due to his actions and behaviour I started to feel lonely like there was no-one who could help me," she said. "For a long time, I did not see a way out. Majority of the time I felt stressed and powerless like I wasn't important. There were times where I felt numb as I'd been through so much. I felt like I had nothing else to lose.”

After Monday's sentencing, detective sergeant Lee Marriner paid tribute to the "incredibly brave" women.

"Wilson tried to control their lives, deprive them of their freedoms and deny them their sense of self-worth yet they found the courage to come forward and tell us what had happened. We do not underestimate how difficult this must have been for them," he said.

He said it was key people recognised the behaviour as abusive and coercive, and said those who have faced similar torment would be listened to.

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