Woman sentenced to prison for 20-year campaign of domestic violence against partner

A mother of three who physically and mentally abused her husband for 20 years has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Sheree Spencer regularly punched, kicked, slapped and bit her victim, who claimed she felt “trapped” and “feared the consequences of speaking out”.

Hull Crown Court heard he would “sometimes cower down on his knees and hands on the floor” as his wife, who sometimes drank three bottles of wine a day, threatened him with physical violence.

Spencer’s long reign of terror finally came to an end when she pleaded guilty to coercive and controlling conduct, three counts of assault and causing bodily harm.

The head of prison reform, who worked for HM Prison and Probation Service, was handed an indefinite restraining order in addition to her sentence. She smiled as she was led to her cell.

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Former head of prison reform Spencer was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to refrain from certain activities for an indefinite period. (MEN Media)

The court heard that Spencer, 45, disfigured her husband by brutally hitting him with a wine bottle, leaving him with a broken elbow and a “cauliflower ear”.

She shouted orders at the father of her children and sometimes “whispered to his face in the most sinister manner”, showing “complete contempt” for him.

The neighbor could overhear the constant stream of insults, recalling Spencer once saying, “You’re not a fucking human being. I want you out of my life.”

She once slashed a tire on her husband’s car with a kitchen knife, then lunged at him with a gun, causing a 2-centimetre gash below the knee.

The violence escalated when the family moved to London, with Spencer hitting her husband in the back of the head with a wine glass, requiring stitches, the court heard.

The abuse finally ended in June 2021 after a concerned social worker notified police.

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Spencer’s husband felt helpless and trapped because he was afraid of what would happen if he spoke his mind. (MEN Media)

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The husband provided officers with 43 photos of the injuries, 36 video clips and nine cell phone recordings.

Spencer, from Market Weighton in East Yorkshire, also hurled abuse at her partner and damaged his property including laptops, phones and clothes.

Spencer’s “unpredictable and threatening” behavior caused her husband to distance himself from the family.

In a statement read to the court, he said he feared he would never fully recover from 20 years of abuse, adding he felt he had to hide it from friends and family.

Spencer decided every aspect of his daily life, including which room he could sleep in and which bathroom he could use.

“She threatened to make false accusations against me to the police,” he said, adding that he felt “trapped” and became “increasingly resistant” to the abuse.

He added that after Spencer’s arrest, problems continued at Family Court hearings because she claimed to be the victim, forcing him to defend himself against false accusations.

“She still had control over me,” the husband added.

Defence barrister Richard Pratt KC said there was “little, if anything” that could be said about mitigating circumstances.

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He said “alcohol played a major role” in the “shocking” and “disturbing” incident, which, combined with the medication she was prescribed, left Spencer’s behaviour “terrified”.

Judge Kate Rayfield said Spencer had a “fiery temperament” and was controlling and coercive towards her “sensitive” husband.

She added that two hours of footage of the incidents had been collected and that the degree of shock it was could not be “overstated”, adding: “You caused him significant psychological harm.”