VICTIMS of domestic abuse are being encouraged to speak out.

It follows the sentencing of Sarah Rigby, who subjected her partner to months of controlling and coercive behaviour.

Among other things, Winsford resident Rigby forced the victim to sleep on the floor, refused to let him use the toilet and cut him off from his friends and family.

Now, Cheshire Police Detective Constable Sophie Ward is urging anyone experiencing similar behaviour to reach out.

She said: “Firstly, I would like to praise the victim for having the courage to speak out, as well as the bravery that he has shown throughout the investigation.

“Many people think that only women can be victims of controlling and coercive behaviour, but as this case demonstrates, that is not always the case and there is help available.

“We treat all reports we receive seriously and will investigate thoroughly to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.

“If you, or someone you know, are a victim of this type of behaviour then please speak out.”

READ MORE: Woman refused to let partner use the toilet in 'degrading' campaign of control

Northwich Guardian: Rigby was sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Friday (May 24)Rigby was sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Friday (May 24) (Image: Facebook)

The couple’s relationship began in July 2021, with the victim soon forced to move into Rigby’s home on Sunningdale Close and pay £700 a month in rent, despite the fact her father already owned the house.

Rigby, 41, took control of her partner’s finances, stopped him from being home alone and later into the relationship, prevented him from showering or using the toilet.

She also searched him as he was entering and leaving the house and if he didn’t comply with her orders, Rigby would punish him by assaulting him, preventing him from eating, and making him sleep on the floor with no duvet and the windows left open.

Rigby’s actions caused the victim to lose four stone in weight during the couple’s nine-month relationship.

In March 2022, he contacted Cheshire Police after seeking help from a men’s domestic abuse helpline.

Rigby appeared at Chester Crown Court on Friday (May 24) where she was sentenced to 20 months in prison, suspended for two years, and handed a five-year restraining order.

DC Ward said: “This is the worst case of controlling and coercive behaviour I have ever seen.

"Rigby had a stranglehold on the victim. Through her coercive behaviour, she was able to control everything he did, cutting him off from everyone he knew and leaving him trapped, feeling like he had nowhere to turn.

“Her actions left the victim both physically and emotionally scarred, and even now, two years after their relationship ended, he is still receiving psychological counselling to help him recover.

She added: “Even after she was charged, Rigby continued to taunt her victim, refusing to return his belongings, and constantly delaying the trial by failing to notify the court of holidays and appointments.

“Although she eventually pleaded guilty to her offending, she has shown no remorse for her actions.

“While the victim will never be able to forget what happened to him, I hope that the conclusion of this case will help him to move forward and start to rebuild his life.”