THE managing director of a Cheshire business left his wife feeling anxious and depressed as a result of his controlling and coercive behaviour.

David Lewis was made to face up to his actions before Chester Crown Court, where his wife read out a powerful statement detailing how they had affected her.

The 50-year-old, the managing director of Warrington-based employment agency Integra People, admitted that his behaviour would likely have caused her to fear violence.

But he was spared an immediate jail sentence after the court heard how his imprisonment could jeopardise the jobs of those who work for him.

Dafydd Roberts, prosecuting, told the court how Lewis married his wife in 2010, but his controlling and coercive behaviour became apparent over the last three years.

She reported his treatment of her to police after leaving their home with her teenage son on June 8 last year following an argument.

This followed Lewis grabbing her, throwing her shoes outside and screaming in her face telling her that if she wanted to leave, she could do so.

Mr Roberts explained how there had been some elements of violence in their relationship, with one incident coming in November 2018 when he pushed her over after an argument over a missing Omega watch.

David Lewis

David Lewis

Reading her statement before the court, his wife said: “I can’t sleep at night thinking about how he treated me, and sometimes I have panic attacks when think about our relationship.

“I feel paranoid when I hear things outside the house and when I see cars go past late at night in case it is him.

“I feel isolated as he didn’t let me see friends without making me feel like I had committed a crime.

“My identity has been taken away from me through his behaviour, and I am appalled and disgusted that the husband I loved could have treated me like that.”

The court heard how Lewis had previously breached a domestic violence prevention order in relation to a previous partner, but Catherine Blackwell, defending, explained that the breach was ‘in no way an element of violence’.

He had approached his former partner’s house with a ‘legitimate reason’ to do so.

She added: “The defendant has sought help in two ways since his arrest. He has visited his GP and enrolled in a course of therapy, in which he has taken time to come to terms with his behaviour and the effect of it.

“It is very much a moving picture in the right direction.”

She also spoke of how the imposition of an immediate custodial sentence would result in a ‘significant harmful impact on others’.

Chester Crown Court

Chester Crown Court

“It would affect those employed by him – there is no doubt the business would suffer and would probably go under,” she said.

Taking all that was said into account, judge Simon Berkson concluded: “For three years in your relationship, you were both controlling and coercive, and in some cases violent towards your wife.

“In your basis of plea, you admitted your behaviour would have caused fear of violence. It involved you threatening her financially, taking away her credit card and threatening to take her car away.

“You would control the life of the person you were supposed to be in a loving relationship with.

“The court hopes that the conclusion of these proceedings will give your victim some peace of mind that in the future, she can go back to living a normal life.”

Lewis, Of Moor Lane in Hapsford, near Frodsham, was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days, including the building better relationships programme, and 200 hours unpaid work.

As well as this, he must pay £800 in court costs and abide by a restraining order not to contact his wife for the next 10 years.