• April 19, 2024
 Richard Spencer case highlights female on male abuse, after 43 images of bruises inflicted by wife Sheree Spencer handed over in court

Sheree Spencer was jailed for four years after being found guilty of coercive and controlling behaviour and three counts of assault (Credit: Channel 5)

Richard Spencer case highlights female on male abuse, after 43 images of bruises inflicted by wife Sheree Spencer handed over in court

After a lengthy investigation by Humberside police a British Mum was sentenced to four years in prison and given a restraining order after pleading guilty to coercive control and three counts of assault against her husband. Nanny cam footage caught the wife and mother brandishing a carving knife at her spouse of 20 years. 

IT designer, Richard Spencer, of. East Yorkshire revealed his story to Channel 5 in a documentary called My Wife, My Abuser: The Secret Footage. The story hit headlines as a standout case of female on male violence.

In a case called “the worst incidence of controlling and coercive behaviour I have seen” by judge Kate Rayfield, Former Prison Boss Sheree Spencer was sentenced in February 2023 after 43 images of her bruised and battered husband were handed over as evidence, alongside footage from inside the family home, caught on the nanny cam. The judge also gave Sheree a restraining order.

Richard Spencer submitted 43 pictures of his battered and bruised body to the court as evidence (Credit: Atticus Film&Television/Channel 5)

The couple lived in a six-bedroomed house with their three daughters. Over the span of two decades, Richard was subjected to a horrific campaign of abuse that included being attacked with a wine bottle, being spat at, punched, hit and threatened. After being struck with a wine bottle, the IT designer was left with a permanently disfigured ear. Before taking his children to school and nursery, Mr Spencer would cover his bruises and scars with cosmetics so the other parents wouldn’t suspect anything.

The mother of three was caught after she called a family friend, claiming her husband was intoxicated and that she was afraid he might ‘do something to her’.

When alone, Richard revealed the truth to his friend and with his support, reported the incident to police in 2021 after a call was made to law enforcement by a perturbed welfare worker. Police footage shows Sheree’s arrest, where she appears non-plussed by the situation and was under the influence of alcohol.

During police interviews, Sheree attempts to portray herself as the victim – saying Richard had ‘threatened to kill her’.

He said in the Channel 5 documentary: 

“Sheree’s abuse towards me evolved and escalated over time, she used repeated acts of physical assault, threats, verbal abuse, and humiliation to punish and exercise control over me.

“The abuse was hidden from the outside world, including friends and family. Sheree manipulated me into believing that I was a responsible and willing participant in the abuse.

“She remorselessly proclaimed that I deserved to be punished, and that it was a justifiable consequence of me disappointing her in some way.”

The abuse wasn’t just physical and emotional, but also financial – another dimension of coercive control. She would pressure Richard into taking out loans for holidays and would ‘punish’ him by refusing to pay her share of the bills. Sheree also claimed that if her husband were to report her she would counter him with a false allegation, telling him: “You’ll never win.”

In 2015, the family purchased a camera to keep an eye on their children in their playroom, and Mr Spencer used this to secretly record his wife’s alcohol fuelled rages where she would call him a ‘p**sy’ and ‘dumb’.

The former prison employee attempted to stop the documentary being shown and applied for a prohibited steps order through the family court.

Nanny-cam footage captured Sheree Spencer brandishing a carving knife at her husband of 20 years (Credit Atticus Film&Television/Channel Five)

Richard told the MailOnline:

 “Sheree tried to stop the documentary being broadcast in the crown court but failed, then she applied for a prohibited  steps order through the family court, which luckily was rejected and thrown out at the first hearing.”

Like many victims of domestic violence and emotional abuse, Mr Spencer admits that his experience has left a ‘lasting impact’ on him and his family.

He said after his wife was jailed: 

“I have become resigned to the fact that I will never fully recover from her abuse and that it will have a permanent damaging impact on mine and my family’s life.

Coercive control and domestic violence are oft thought to be a gendered crime, as the majority of cases centre around male to female abuse.

Charity Women’s Aid state on their website: 

“Whilst both men and women may experience incidents of inter-personal violence and abuse, women are considerably more likely to experience repeated and severe forms of abuse, including sexual violence. They are also more likely to have experienced sustained physical, psychological or emotional abuse, or violence which results in injury or death.”

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimated that 5.0% of adults (6.9% women and 3.0% men) aged 16 years and over experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022. This equates to 1.7 million women and 699,000 men. Of those who experienced partner abuse, 84.3% experienced non-physical abuse.

In 2023, higher rates of domestic abuse were reported from men. An estimated 1.4 million women and 751,000 men aged 16 years and over experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2023; a prevalence rate of approximately 5.7% of women and 3.2% of men.

Eve Tawfick, Editor

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