Hairdresser kept in van and strangled by partner who paid pal £50 to spy on her

A young woman has shared the horrific abuse she suffered at the hands of her ex-boyfriend to encourage other victims to seek help.

Chelsea Simms, 22, recalled being strangled so hard she passed out by Benjamin Robert Dobson, 29.

Dobson, who is now behind bars, also threatened to kill her, paid a friend £50 to spy on her, and imprisoned her in a van for four days.

Last week he was sentenced to two years and ten months imprisonment after pleading guilty to controlling and coercive behaviour. Simms thinks that is "ridiculously short", HullLive reports.

The couple met in the Yorkshire town of Selby through mutual friends, with the first three months feeling like "the best thing since sliced bread" according to Simms.

Yet quickly things turned. Dobson became controlling and used violence to gain power in the relationship.

The first attack left Simms with a fractured cheekbone and eye socket.

Other attacks included five separate strangulations.

Urging other sufferers to seek help Simms said: "It might seem really hard at the time but you need to put yourself first and be safe because your life's more important than someone taking it away from you.

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"They might say they love you and things like that, but it doesn't work like that, people don't want to hurt you if they love you."

He also controlled her finances and on one occasion drove her to a remote location whilst saying he had "dug a hole for her".

The four-day imprisonment in a van occurred after Simms took a job as a shop assistant.

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Her boss reported her missing, meaning that for the first time she was on the police's radar.

She ended the relationship in February 2020 but the controlling behaviours did not stop. In fact, she said "the threat got a lot more intense" with Dobson paid his friend £50 to spy when Simms went to a birthday party.

Simms slammed the shortness of Dobson's sentence, two years and ten months which he was given last week.

He spent seven months in remand leading up to the trial due to the threats of harm made to Simms and was also made subject to a restraining order for an indefinite period.

Charges for two counts of assault and false imprisonment were allowed to remain on file.

Simms said: "I am definitely going to live with this for the rest of my life and feel he should have to, too. If only my trauma went away in two years and 10 months too!"

If you have been affected by issues of domestic violence or coercive control you can call Refuge's 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free. The number is 0808 2000 247.

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