Controlling boyfriend who marched ex out of hospital avoids jail

AN ‘”EVIL” brute marched his girlfriend out of hospital the day after she had given birth – leaving the day-old boy in the maternity ward.

Shockingly, neither the authorities nor the young woman’s family had no idea she was pregnant. The pregnancy only came to light when Jonathan Burgess called NHS advice line 111 to ask how his girlfriend could give birth at home. The call handler was so concerned they sent an ambulance to his home.

‘Evil’

The 27-year-old was branded evil by his former partner, who has since moved away. In a victim statement read to the court she said: “I struggle to understand how someone so nice at the beginning can be so evil.”

‘You crushed her character’

Burgess avoided an immediate prison sentence after the judge heard he had never had the benefit of rehabilitative support through the probation service.

But Judge Jason Taylor QC berated bearded Burgess, telling him: “It may well be a stronger character and perhaps one with a better education may have stood up to you but the reality is she was vulnerable and you dominated her and crushed her character.”

Blossoming relationship

Swindon Crown Court heard that Burgess and his victim had met over dating website Plenty of Fish in late 2016.

 

Burgess moved the woman into his family home

The relationship blossomed and the woman quickly moved in with Burgess and his family in Atworth, near Melksham. Glimmers of his true character emerged when she briefly returned to see her family in Bristol for a week and he bombarded her with jealous messages.

After her phone broke she became reliant on his devices to keep in touch with the outside world.

Pregnancy

Burgess’ controlling behaviour came to a head in January 2018 when he called 111 to ask for advice about home births. Having fallen pregnant, the woman was effectively made to keep the fact a secret. Her family was unaware and she had attended no ante-natal classes.

Prosecuting, Chris Smyth said the 111 handler was so worried they called an ambulance and the woman was rushed by ambulance to the Royal United Hospital in Bath. She gave birth by emergency caesarean section.

“The next day on the pretext of taking [his partner] outside for a breath of fresh air when she was still recovering the immediate after-effects of the caesarean operation and in clothing suitable for staying in hospital he told her that they were leaving – leaving the newly-born child in the hospital.

Royal United Hospital, Bath

“His explanation was following the visit from the social worker they needed to consult their solicitor,” Mr Smyth added.

“It is harder to think in the context of the case what could be more damaging to a mother than for him to have acted as he did leading up to and following the birth of the child.”

A social worker found the house was dirty and virtually no preparations had been made for the arrival of the baby boy. The mother was never reunited with the child.

Burgess was aggressive and domineering when social workers and police visited. The woman’s family asked police to make welfare checks, but initially said she was happy where she was.

Rescue

It wasn’t until late 2018 that she emailed her sister and asked her to invent a story their dad was ill to give her the pretext to leave. Police were back at the house on November 29 and officers insisted on speaking to the woman alone outside. In an effort to listen in, Burgess crawled out of the front door and hid behind a car.

Police took the woman home to her family in Bristol that day. Despite being warned not to contact her, Burgess sent his former partner a series of letters professing his love and saying he did not want to lose her.

Defence

Burgess, of Mount Pleasant, Atworth, pleaded guilty to a charge of engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour between January 2017 and January 2019.

Swindon Crown Court

Defending, Anjali Gohil said her client had taken it upon himself to contact domestic abuse service Splitz with a view to getting help. Despite having previous domestic violence matters on his record he had never before been given the chance to work with the probation service.

“The fact is he is going to be in other relationships and the public interest, your honour may take the view, is best served by him undertaking the work he needs to undertake to challenge, rectify and heal whatever demons there are inside himself that will make it easier for him to have a safe relationship,” she told the judge.

Sentence

Burgess was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for two years. He must complete 250 hours of unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

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