Leading a double life to be recognised as domestic abuse

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Catherine Garrod
Catherine Garrod signed this petition

I was groomed into fake relationship and trapped when I tried to leave.

My abuser was a predator, obsessed with control and fantasies about killing. He followed a tried and tested pattern and pushed the boundaries over time.

He pursued me and asked me everything about my life, what I was looking for and if I’d ever been treated badly. He told me he was looking for a family and forever and I thought wow this guy knows what he wants. He was charming, very attentive and keen to progress the relationship quickly, which I’ve now discovered is known as “love bombing,” and as soon as I committed, he pulled back and the relationship never progressed.

Each time I ended it, the love bombing started all over again - he would tell me I was his world, he’d cry for hours telling me he couldn’t live without me, couldn’t wait to have children with me, he wanted to grow old with me, he was proud of me, he’d bring me gifts, he was going to do everything he could to make me so happy, and that being with me felt like home.

Fast forward three and a half years and another woman contacts me to tell me he’s been doing all the same things to her. My things would be out when I went to his house, her things would be out when she went, and he’d always just vacuumed so we never found a blonde or brunette hair. He was just about to move into my house, and she had her flat on the market preparing to move into his house. It was never going to end.

We’re now friends with a unique bond and within the first 48 hours, we'd pieced everything together. We discovered every move was calculated, every emotion was mimicked, and what we thought was love was an obsession with controlling our lives.

Everything was a lie. He didn't love us. He hated losing us.

We joked about him having all the makings of a serial killer, which triggered us sharing that more recently he’d been telling us how much he’d like to kill us and how easy it would be. He’d either pin us down with his full body weight, throw a punch full force and stop just before making contact, or clamp his hand over our mouth and nose so that we couldn’t breathe.

We went to the police and were told living a double life wouldn’t meet the threshold for coercive control, as he didn’t control what we wore, who we spent time with or our money. So instead they charged him for common assault against me, as I had dates and times of him threatening to kill me, and his defence got him off on the basis the “play fighting” was consensual, because I believed he loved me.

Parliament are shaping a new definition for domestic abuse, and what happened to us isn't covered. Please sign this petition to influence that, so that future victims get the support they need, and predators face consequence for destroying lives.

If this happened to you or someone you know, please get in touch www.hecontrolledbothofus.co.uk You can remain anonymous.