Cambridge Businessman Jailed For Controlling Wife

19 May 2017, 09:26 | Updated: 19 May 2017, 09:28

Shane Murphy

A Cambridge businessman who controlled and coerced his wife for nearly a decade has been jailed for more than four years.

Shane Murphy, 43, was sentenced to four years and four months in prison for a number of offences relating to his wife, Zoe, and other family members.

Zoe endured years of abuse, was assaulted, locked in rooms, had objects thrown at her and was made to feel worthless.

Murphy would order her to be home by a certain time, was not allowed to have PIN numbers on her phone and was once told to clear her bank account and give him the money.

He would also check her receipts, previous journeys on a sat nav and would often not let her leave the house, even to walk their dog.

On Monday, Murphy admitted a string of charges committed in Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire and today (May 18) he was sentenced to a total of 52 months in prison and given a life-long restraining order.

The court heard Murphy assaulted Zoe in April last year following an argument at their Cambridge home, throwing glassware and lit candles at her before locking her in a room and turning off the electricity.

He returned later, grabbing her by the throat and throwing her across the room.

The following day she took her children to school but picked them up early to flee to her parents' house.

When he realised what had happened, Murphy threatened Zoe's step-father and her teenage son in a bid to contact her and told her daughter he had taken an overdose and needed Zoe to contact him.

Zoe called police and told them of further offences, one back in 2009 when she was 20 weeks pregnant and Murphy broke her leg. He warned if she told anyone he would make sure she would never meet her baby.

Murphy was arrested but refused to speak about the allegations against him, believing his wife would not make a formal complaint and go to court.

While on police bail, Murphy changed his wife's mobile phone password, suspended her account and changed her Apple ID password.

Murphy was convicted of engaging in coercive or controlling behaviour, inflicting grievous bodily harm (GBH) without intent (the 2009 offence), assault by beating and two counts of sending communications conveying a threatening message in relation to Zoe's step-father and teenage son.

On August 1 last year he was issued with a restraining order preventing him from contacting Zoe's son, daughter, mother and step-father.
His sentence was deferred to January 6 on the condition that he did not assault, harass, pester or interfere with Zoe or any of her family in anyway, as well as attending couples counselling.

Upon his release from prison Murphy worked his way back into Zoe's life, manipulating her into allowing him to come back to the family home, which was now in Hertfordshire. 

Between August 1 and November 21 Murphy breached the conditions of his release from prison, as well as his restraining order. 

Hertfordshire police were also notified of an assault on November 9 where Murphy had locked Zoe in a bedroom, pushing her around and grabbing her by the throat.

Temporary Detective Constable Amy Davison, from the Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (DAISU), said: "Initially Zoe was too scared to make a formal complaint as she was afraid of repercussions. 

"I would like to commend her for the bravery she has shown in coming forward and working with us in order to bring Murphy to justice, but ultimately safeguard her and her children from any further harm.

"Murphy was extremely controlling of Zoe and coerced her into staying in a relationship with him, despite admitting a string of offences against her.

"She endured years of abuse, being thrown against stair cases and walls, held down, grabbed and thrown about to instil fear, locked in rooms, told what she could and couldn't wear, told she is fat, worthless and ugly, and had items thrown at her on a regular basis. He was relentless in his controlling behaviour.

"Anyone who is going through a similar experience, please find the courage to tell someone. You don't have to come direct to police, but please know that we can help you, you don't have to live under someone else's control.

"By working closely with our colleagues in Hertfordshire we have managed to bring Murphy to justice and secure a lengthy prison sentence."