PCC welcomes Sussex’s first coercive and controlling behaviour conviction

Robert Conlon. Photo courtesy of Sussex Police. SUS-170524-101926001
Robert Conlon. Photo courtesy of Sussex Police. SUS-170524-101926001

Sussex PCC Katy Bourne has welcomed the first conviction in Sussex for exercising coercive and controlling behaviour in a relationship.

Robert Conlon, 24, a refuse worker, of Willingdon Way, St Leonards, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years behind bars at Lewes Crown Court on Friday, May 19, after pleading guilty at a previous hearing.

He also received an indefinite restraining order which prohibits him from any contact with his 28-year-old ex-partner and with the investigating detective, and prohibits him from entering Sussex.

“Controlling and coercive behaviour can take many forms, from repeated name-calling and damaging property to threatening family pets and controlling access to money, and it leaves victims feeling intimidated, isolated and often terrified,” said Mrs Bourne.

“It’s important that people realise it is now a crime to act as Conlon did – it is completely unacceptable to follow your partner to work and tell them what they can or can’t wear or dictate who they should spend time with.”

The couple had been in a relationship and living at her address in Hastings, which is not being disclosed, for more than a year until last October when Conlon was charged with the offences for which he was sentenced.

Mrs Bourne added: “I applaud the victim in this case for her bravery in speaking out and I hope that this successful conviction will give other victims the confidence to come forward and report the abuse they are suffering.

“Credit must also go to the detectives in the East Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit for their diligent work in this case.

“Sussex Police have a number of cases currently under investigation since the new legislation which made coercive and controlling behaviour a specific domestic abuse-related crime was introduced in December 2015.

“Anyone who is experiencing this type of abuse should report it to Sussex Police by calling 101 or visiting the website at https://sussex.police.uk or going in to your local police station.

“You can also access a range of support services at www.safespacesussex.org.uk whether you have reported it to the police or not.”

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