Steven Gane jailed after 'driving his partner to suicide'

image copyrightHertfordshire Constabulary
image captionSteven Gane joked about his girlfriend's death

A man who physically and mentally abused his girlfriend before she took her own life has been jailed for controlling and coercive behaviour.

Steven Gane, 31, of Gadsden Close, Upminster, was also found guilty at St Albans Crown Court of actual bodily harm and assault by beating Kellie Sutton, from Welwyn Garden City.

A judge said his actions had driven her to suicide.

He was jailed for four years and three months.

Gane was cleared of a second charge of assault by beating.

The court heard Ms Sutton, 30, a mother of three, began a relationship with Gane in March 2017 and had changed from being a positive and outgoing woman into someone who was anxious, quiet and increasingly isolated from her friends.

On 23 August, she was found by unconscious by Gane at her home in Pollards Close after attempting to take her own life.

She never regained consciousness and life support was withdrawn three days later.

'Broke her spirits'

Police were told by one of Gane's friends he had "bust Kellie's head open" after losing his temper and he made jokes about her taking her own life.

Medical records showed she had been to hospital on 3 June with a 3cm wound to the top of her head and police were called to reports of a row at her home on 6 July.

She later told a family member Gane had thrown her on the floor and choked her because she had gone out and not told him where she was. She told others he was abusive, jealous, possessive and controlling.

He denied hurting her, saying they loved each other but their relationship was sometimes "volatile".

Passing sentence, Judge Philip Grey said: "Your behaviour drove Kellie Sutton to hang herself that morning.

"You beat her and ground her down and broke her spirits."

The judge also imposed a Criminal Behaviour Order, requiring Gane to inform police if he is involved in a sexual relationship that lasts for 14 days or longer.

The law regarding coercive control was brought in in 2015.

It concerns relationships where controlling behaviour by the perpetrator is used "repeatedly or continuously" that has a "substantial adverse effect" on a victim.

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