Man jailed after former partner bravely comes forward to report abuse
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A woman who suffered years of domestic abuse has been praised by police for supporting a prosecution.
Lee Messam has been jailed after his former partner bravely came forward to give evidence against him.
The 50-year-old, from Seaford, was responsible for a series of violent outbursts, often in the presence of their three children, and inflicted numerous injuries upon her, as detailed in medical notes.
The pair had been in a relationship from 1992, but Messam’s behaviour soon became controlling and coercive. This included controlling her finances, what she wore and who she spoke to.
The victim was eventually encouraged to report the abuse by one of her children, who was concerned for the welfare of her family.
The allegations were investigated by a team of officers from Eastbourne CID, led by Detective Sergeant Amanda Hover.
This led to Messam being arrested and charged with engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour between December 2015 and September 2020.
He pleaded guilty to the offence in court on 18 April, where it was heard how he burnt his partner in the face with a cigarette butt, strangled her with a dressing gown cord, smothered her with a pillow and punched her in the face on numerous occasions.
The case was adjourned until 5 July at Lewes Crown Court, where Messam was sentenced to 38 months’ imprisonment, consisting of 19 months in custody followed by 19 months on licence.
He was also given a restraining order against the victim and two of their children, which lasts until further notice.
Three counts of assault, between 2014 and 2020, are to lie on file.
Det Sgt Hover said: “I would like to express how immensely brave the victim was throughout the investigation and court process. She suffered a sustained period of domestic abuse in many forms, and her determination to see this through to the end helped her grow in strength and courage.
“The difference in her as a person and how her life has changed for the better is clearly evident, and I would encourage anyone who has been, or is a victim of domestic abuse, to come forward.
“Messam put her and their children in genuine fear of violence, and we will continue to work with victims and witnesses who come forward to report allegations to us. We will listen to you and we will support you.”