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Domestic abuser jailed after subjecting Cambridge woman to reign of terror

By Newsdesk Cambridge

A controlling and abusive man who subjected his ex-partner to “nearly a year of terror” - threatening her with knives, smashing up her Cambridge home and refusing to let her leave the house - has been jailed.

Reece Haynes, of Sunnyside Road, in Hitchin, who has been jailed for domestic abuse. Image: Cambridgeshire Constabulary (6841940)
Reece Haynes, of Sunnyside Road, in Hitchin, who has been jailed for domestic abuse. Image: Cambridgeshire Constabulary (6841940)

Reece Haynes, 26, threatened to cause serious harm to the woman and her friends on an almost daily basis between February and December 2018.

He strangled her to force an apology, threw a firework at the woman, her child and her friend and slapped her around the face.

Haynes was given a five-year restraining order preventing him from contacting his ex on October 20, 2017. But in early 2018 he sent her a Facebook friend request, private message and text.

In February, he turned up at her Cambridge home and never left, Cambridge Crown Court heard. He took control of the spare house key, threatening to smash the door down if she changed the locks.

He stayed most weeks, leaving at weekends, and while he was there the woman was not allowed to leave without permission.

The woman was too terrified to call police. But last spring, she called for a friend to pick her up. Haynes threatened to assault the friend.

He grabbed his ex by her ponytail, threw her onto the bed and strangled her until she apologised.

In June, he armed himself with a kitchen knife, hid the car keys and threatened to stab the woman and her friend after they said they were going out to buy food.

Even when he left for a few weeks in July, he would call regularly and issue threats, claiming someone was watching the house.

He then told her to meet her at Cambridge railways station, and he started using her bank card without permission, until she was forced to hid it.

After he threw the firework, the woman locked Haynes out of her house, but he grabbed a garden chair and bashed it against the front door.

He was let in but grabbed a knife and twice slapped the woman hard around the head. He poked her leg with the knife, but this did not draw blood.

At one point, the woman told Haynes she no longer loved him. He ripped a door off its hinges and smashed a glass chopping board while she was out buying milk.

When she returned and asked him to leave, he ripped a bedroom door from its hinges.

On November 23, he let himself in with the door key he had stolen and crept into bed with the woman.

He left the next morning, driving a Ford Focus which was registered to him even though he did not having a full driving licence or insurance. He was pulled over by police and charged with these offences.

On the same day, the woman realised her bank card had been taken by Haynes. He messaged her, telling her to “prepare for the madness”.

The victim reported this to police and Haynes was arrested. Officers saw him hide cannabis under the sofa.

Haynes, of Sunnyside Road, in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, initially denied all the offences, claiming he had not seen the woman since 2017.

But he admitted driving cars without a licence or insurance because he “doesn’t like walking”.

At Cambridge Crown Court last Wednesday (January 23), Haynes pleaded guilty to coercive and controlling behaviour, possession of a class B drug, breaching a restraining order and driving a car without a licence or insurance. He was sentenced to three years in prison and disqualified from driving for two years.

He was given a new five-year restraining order, preventing him from contacting his victim.

Det Con Luke Whatford said: “Haynes subjected his ex-partner to nearly a year of terror. No person should have to suffer this kind of abuse and I would like to applaud her bravery in coming forwards.

“We are committed to tackling domestic abuse, which is a force priority.

“Additionally, we recognise not all victims of domestic violence suffer physical injury, they suffer from the threat and fear of injury, daily intimidation and having every aspect of their life monitored and controlled.

“Controlling behaviour is a criminal offence and we take all reports of it very seriously.

“We would strongly urge anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse to contact police on 101 or call the national domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247.”

For advice and support on domestic abuse, visit cambs.police.uk/information-and-services/Domestic-abuse/Domestic-abuse.

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