I dreamed of a happy future with this man but he beat me and then acted like nothing had happened – Henley Standard
Saturday, 27 August 2022
Delivering the news from Henley on Thames and South Oxfordshire for over 100 years
25 August 2022
A WOMAN has told of how she suffered years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her former partner.
Lorraine Attwood, 56, said she was made to feel guilty about the violent, coercive behaviour of Casey Courtney, the man she had hoped to spend the rest of her life with.
She was speaking after 60-year-old Courtney was given a two-year suspended prison sentence at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Thursday last week after admitting criminal damage, assault by beating and coercion.
The former owner of Courtneys Garage in Henley was also given a restraining order whereby he cannot make any contact with his victim.
Courtney, of Churchill Crescent, Sonning Common, will have to spend 30 days attending behaviour courses and 40 days in rehabilitation.
Miss Attwood said she wanted to speak out publicly to encourage other women suffering domestic abuse to seek help.
She was beaten and controlled by Courtney and even locked out of their home but she kept finding reasons to stand by him and hadn’t even planned to have him arrested.
The couple’s relationship began in 2011 after Courtney’s second divorce. They had met years before and they were both living in Frieth.
He partitioned his house so that he lived in one part and his ex-wife and children in the other and Miss Attwood and her two children would come to stay with him.
Once Courtney was able to sell the house, he bought a house in Sonning Common.
This property wasn’t big enough for both of them and their children so Miss Attwood bought a flat which she rented out to earn extra money needed to pay for an extension.
She said she saw his bad temper early on in their relationship but put it down to his divorce and being separated from his children.
It sometimes crossed her mind to end the relationship but her children had formed a bond with his and she didn’t want to take that away from them.
Miss Attwood said: “I kept finding reasons why he would be so unsettled.
“I wanted to reassure him that I and the children would be there for him no matter what, that I was there to support him and the children.
“I felt like that was what was missing from his life before and I just needed to show him he could trust that I wasn’t going anywhere.”
She said she continued to live with Courtney on and off out of fear. Miss Attwood said: “Sometimes the best thing was to be there for him to see that everything was okay but sometimes, for my own safety, it was not okay to be there.
“He would lose his temper but I never knew when it was going to happen.
“When he lost it, he lost it bad. There was no way you could calm him down, you just had to try to protect yourself.
“It was always hidden from everyone else. Only once did he smash something in front of his children but in front of everyone else, everything would be hunky dory.
“It was always taken out on me and it was always my stuff that he smashed.
“The next day he would act like nothing had happened and never talked about it. He would order and replace every broken item and put it all back in place, which made it slightly easier to block it out and pretend it hadn’t happened.”
She called the police several times after she had been locked out of the house or needed Courtney to calm down.
On one occasion, she locked herself in the bathroom and climbed out a very small skylight window on to the scaffolding on the roof.
On another, she was due to have a baby shower for her daughter’s first born in the finished house and they had spent a week preparing for it.
Miss Attwood said: “He was getting stressed out that we wouldn’t finish on time and he hurt me so bad that night before the shower that I couldn’t physically lift my hands above my waist.
“He would grab hold of any part of me or any piece of clothing and just throw me around like a rag doll. I was pushed and dragged back and forwards. I would hold my keys and my phone really close to my chest while he would do this and that would also create marks on me.
“My ribs would hurt so much and my arms would be bruised.
“Then the next day he would be so lovely — the loveliest man.”
Courtney was given warnings by police and sent on anger management courses.
However, Miss Attwood was still surprised when he was arrested on December 11.
He had locked her out again after an argument and told her to call the police if she wanted to get back in so she did so.
She said: “I sounded pretty pathetic on the phone just saying, ‘Sorry for calling, I just want to get back in’, then they said they wanted to interview me.
“They said they were going to arrest him. I was shocked because I had said barely anything about all that had happened.
“I begged them not to arrest him but they said, ‘No ma’m, he has not got the message.”
Soon afterwards, she moved out for good but Courtney would go to where she was staying and scratched her car, poured milk on the windscreen and jammed the driver’s door so it couldn’t shut and then wouldn’t leave.
Carole Payne, who chaired the magistrates, said Courtney was guilty of a “serious set of offences” conducted over a long period.
Michael Greenleaf, for Courtney, said he had been depressed at the time of the incidents and “couldn’t cope”.
The extension to the couple’s house had been putting strain on their relationship and he was angry at the amount of building work he had taken on.
Mr Greenleaf said: “He knows now he should have treated arguments differently rather than escalating them with violence or trying to damage the car.
“He wants to abide by courses offered to change his ways and he never had fallouts in relation to his two previous marriages.”
Mr Greenleaf said Courtney had three children under the age of 18 who were home-schooled due to severe anxiety and he shared custody of them with his second wife who was undergoing treatment for cancer.
He had four grown-up children from his first marriage.
His parents were also ill and he helped with their care and drove them to hospital appointments.
Miss Attwood, who used to work in respite care of people with learning disabilities, said she now felt lost.
She said: “I miss my blended family so very much. I was completely and utterly committed to him.
“This really derailed me. For the first time in my life, I didn’t know how to manage. My head’s all over the place and I can’t function properly.
“I came from a point of love so I will never understand abuse. Abuse is utterly heart-breaking and damaging.
“He has six daughters and I just think, what if their partners did something like this — he couldn’t do anything because he has been doing it.
“I’m glad that now women who want to get involved with him will be able to see his record and I hope now that he has been found guilty, he can accept help and stop hurting people he loves.
“I had a dream of a happy ending. He was my future. My children and his children — we were going to be one big happy family. It’s just so devastating and so sad that it had to end this way just because he couldn’t control
• If you are a woman or child experiencing abuse at home, call the Refuge 24-hour free helpline on 0808 200 0247 or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk
25 August 2022
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