- Abby Young was brutally beaten by her former partner David Sean Thompson
- Thompson has handed an 18-month jail sentence suspended for two years
A domestic abuse victim whose violent ex partner used her face to stub out his cigarettes has blasted his ‘soft’ sentence which saw him walk free from court last month.
David Sean Thompson, 33, received an 18-month jail sentence suspended for two years after he was found guilty of the coercive control of Abby Young, 29, at Derby Crown Court.
Over the course of a 10-day trial, the jury heard how Thompson was arrested following a party in Derbyshire in October 2019, when he kicked and punched his victim at a hotel in Chesterfield.
The couple began a relationship in 2018, but soon Thompson’s controlling behaviour began, demanding immediate access to his partner’s phone so he could inspect her messages.
Thompson’s trial had been delayed several times as a result of a lack of court time.
Ms Young also blames Thompson’s suspended jail term on prison overcrowding.
The civil servant from Warwickshire said: ‘David is a thug and everyone needs to know his true colours.
‘If you’re experiencing an abusive relationship, please seek out a safe space.
‘Whether that’s a family member you trust, or charity.
‘There is help out there.’
The pair met in April 2018, on dating website, E-Harmony. Although, despite dating, Thompson refused to call Ms Young his ‘girlfriend’.
She said: ‘He wouldn’t acknowledge that we were together officially.
‘Instead, he told me “You’re definitely in the top 3”.
What is coercive control and what are the sentencing guidelines?
Coercive control is not always a crime which involves physical violence. It involves the offender seeking to exploit their victim and prevent them from accessing support from friends and family and regulating their daily behaviour.
Examples can include an offender preventing their victim from seeing friends or family or demanding access to their phone to monitor their communications.
Coercive control can be tried at either Magistrates’ Court our Crown Court level and could result in a sentence ranging from a community order to a maximum of four years’ in custody.
It forms part of the Serious Crime Act of 2015.
In sentencing, a judge or a magistrate must balance the offender’s culpability with factors reducing the seriousness of the offence.
At the highest level of culpability, the starting point is two years and six months, with a range of between 1 and 4 years.
At the lowest level, an offender faces between a community order and six months in jail.
Once the level of culpability is determined, the judge must then decide are there any aggravating factions, such as previous convictions, further offending while on bail or whether the offence was also a hate crime.
In mitigation, a lack of previous convictions or no recent or relevant convictions can reduce the level of sentence.
Also, a show of remorse or previous good character can lead to leniency.
Taking steps to address offending behaviour can also be used in mitigation.
‘That was the start of his control.
‘But by then I was already in too deep.’
For days at a time, Thompson would ignore Ms Young, then reappear again.
However, anytime she spoke to a male colleague or a male friend, he would become angry.
She said: ‘Soon he forced me to delete and block all my male friends.
‘He was extremely possessive and jealous.
‘Often checking my phone to see who I was talking to.
‘It was exhausting.’
In October 2018, Thompson assaulted Ms Young for the first time while they were out having drinks in a bar.
She said: ‘The night was going fine until David read an innocent message from a work colleague on my phone.
‘As we argued, he threw his drink in my eyes, before storming off.
‘I went after him but he spun around and punched me in the back of my head, causing me to fall to the floor.’
Witnesses called the police, but when they arrived, Ms Young refused to speak to them.
Instead, the pair left to get a taxi.
But while they waited, Thompson spat in Ms Young’s face.
She said: ‘When we got back at his house, he lit up a cigarette and then put it out on my face.
‘I was beside myself.’
Next morning, Thompson apologised – blaming alcohol.
But two days later, he demanded that she apologised over the assault accepting that she caused him to hit her.
‘He told me that he wouldn’t see me anymore if it happened again. He blamed me for making him angry. I felt like I was losing my mind.’
Ms Young said the relationship was causing her mental health problems and she was rapidly losing weight.
After that, Abby walked on egg shells around Thompson.
Soon, Abby’s mental health suffered and she rapidly lost weight.
The relationship ended following a traumatic beating in a hotel in Chesterfield in October 2019.
During the evening, she was talking to some women at the party when Thompson ordered her to her room.
Realising she was going to be subjected to another beating, Ms Young called 999 and warned police that she was going to be assaulted.
Thompson discovered the call and when they entered the hotel room, he launched a furious attack on his partner.
She said: ‘While he assaulted me, I thought, that was it, I was going to die and be all over the papers in the morning.
‘But then I heard a bang on the door and the police outside the room.
‘I started to scream for help.’
Thompson was handcuffed and taken away while a female officer took Ms Young’s statement.
The following morning, she attended Warwick Hospital A&E and was diagnosed with concussion and bruising to her neck and face.
Five months later, Thompson was charged with coercive and controlling behaviour but denied it.
She said: ‘While I awaited his trial, I suffered vivid night terrors. My parents would find me screaming on the bedroom floor.
‘I even changed my car and constantly checked the doors were locked.
‘It was horrific.’
Four years later, the case finally went to court where he was found guilty of coercive and controlling behaviour.
She added: ‘It was worth all the years of waiting. Though his sentence was appalling for what he did to me.
‘David is a bully and a true narcissist.
‘If something doesn’t feel right, please use Clare’s Law to check your partner’s history.
‘It’s there to protect you.’