A WOMAN has told of her ordeal at the hands of her controlling husband who tracked her phone and installed CCTV in their room – and the signs her friends noticed that she needed help to escape.
Christopher Bevan used a “significant number” of hi-tech stalking apps, devices and trackers to monitor Kath’s every move and made her life a living hell.
2Katherine Bevan was spied on relentlessly and abused until she was able to leave her husbandCredit: MEDIA WALES2Christopher Bevan pleaded guilty to engaging in coercive and controlling behaviourThe 44-year-old would berate his wife for being ‘unfaithful’ and installed apps on her phone to keep tabs on her at all times.
His victim was constantly on edge, made worse by the fact he would Facetime her repeatedly to make sure she was alone, the court heard.
Work also offered no escape for the mum-of-two, as her controlling and paranoid husband would check up on her throughout her shift.
He installed cameras in every room of the house, including their children’s bedrooms.
Kath told Wales Online: “The camera in our bedroom was focused on me sleeping in bed because he believed I was contacting someone whilst he was sleeping.
“During the day time he was watching me changing, dressing and doing general household chores in our bedroom.
“I was stripped of all privacy not only in our bedroom but all around our house.
“He even went to the extent of trashing our bedroom looking for ‘evidence’ of an affair and locking the downstairs windows as he believed I had men coming in through them.”
He would monitor her messages, calls and social media, which soon isolated Kathy from most family and friends.
The couple had originally shared a “happy” relationship after they first met, but when they married in 2012 she began to feel like a “house maid and nanny.”
Over time she said she felt like she’d become “a scared little girl” but eight years later Kath finally had the courage and support to leave her abuser.
A visit from a friend for her 40th birthday proved to be a wake-up call, she said: “My friend had come over to see me with a present, she was very concerned by my appearance in that I looked like – in her words – ‘a scared little girl who had to sit quietly and not speak’.
“By this point, my family and friends were worried about what was happening as they could see a complete change in me – I went from being a happy sociable person to being quiet and withdrawn.
“I was not the person everyone knew.”
In a desperate bid to rescue Kath, her family had been in touch with Women’s Refuge and her brother managed to catch her alone for five minutes to ask what was happening at home.
The next week, Kath had been given permission by Christopher to see her parents in McArthur Glen, Bridgend.
“I was allowed to meet with my parents for a coffee but on the basis that I took the children with me,” she said.
“This was the first time I had away from Christopher to be able to talk openly about what was happening.
“I had a good chat with my brother on the phone and he explained about being in touch with Women’s Refuge and how my living situation was not normal.”
By lunchtime Kath had made the decision to call her parents and ask them to pick her and her children up from the family home.
Prosecutor Dean Pulling said she had been left “mentally and physically exhausted” as he banned his wife from even shopping alone.
Mr Pulling said Bevan had been arrested in November 2020 when police found the hi-tech stalking equipment.
But Swansea Crown Court heard that it wasn’t until in March 2021 that Kath’s brother uncovered the tracking device on her car.
In a victim impact statement Kath said she had been made to feel “isolated, vulnerable, scared and alone” by her husband’s behaviour.
Bevan, of Pontarddulais, Swansea, pleaded guilty to engaging in coercive and controlling behaviour.
His defence council, Helen Randall, said Bevan accepted his behaviour was unacceptable and it could not be “explained or excused”.
Judge Catherine Richards told Bevan he used “multiple methods of control” over his wife which were “incredibly intrusive”.
Bevan was spared jail with a 12 month suspended sentence and handed a 10 year restraining order banning him from contacting his wife.
He was also ordered to attend a “building better relationships” course and carry out 150 hours unpaid work.
Kathy has since began to rebuild her life, with help from Women’s Aid, family and friends.
She said: “I have become a stronger person and more importantly, a much happier person than I ever was.
“I am enjoying my new life and looking forward to what the future brings.”
If you are worried that a friend or family member might be in an abusive relationship, here are some signs to look out for according to experts.
How you can get helpWomen’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
Always keep your phone nearby.
Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
If you are in danger, call 999.
Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk