A man who beat his ex partner also taped her child's mouth shut.

William Stephen Stokes, from Rainhill, has been jailed for 3 and a half years after pleading guilty to a number of offences including internal suffocation at Chester Crown Court on Monday, November 20.

The court heard how the 37-year-old, became involved in a relationship in 2022 and initially, everything was going smoothly. However, as the relationship developed, Stokes became increasingly more aggressive, violent, and controlling.

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Stokes was accused of throwing his partner across the room and would also direct his anger towards her young children. On one occasion during a car journey in March 2023, Stokes grabbed at the child’s seatbelt, pulling it so tightly the child was left with an injury to her hip.

In April 2023, one of the children woke up crying, enraging Stokes, who in turn held the child down and taped her mouth shut with gaffer tape. The victim ended the relationship and report Stokes to Cheshire Police on Saturday, April 1, 2023.

Following his arrest, Stokes was given bail conditions not to contact the victim, but his obsessive behaviour continued. On Thursday , April 13, the victim was collecting her children from school when she saw Stokes walking nearby.

The children became distressed and started crying asking to be taken home. Stokes had his friends threaten the victim and her family members - he was also seen to be driving through the victim’s estate.

Officers attended Stokes’ home address in May, 2023 and rearrested him. He was subsequently charged with assault by beating, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, intentional suffocation, stalking, possession of Class B drugs and possession of a prohibited weapon.

Following his sentencing, Detective Constable Lauren Henthorn said: "This was an extremely traumatising experience for the victim in this case and I hope that Stokes’ sentence, along with his 10-year restraining order, will provide her with some reassurance.

"Domestic abuse is not acceptable and will not be tolerated, and we want to send out a clear message that nobody should have so have to suffer in silence.

"If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or if you know someone who is a victim, please get in touch. We treat all reports of domestic abuse extremely seriously and will use all the powers available to us to ensure that those responsible are held accountable."

DC Lauren Henthorn added: "Help is also available through the National Domestic Violence Helpline, on 0808 2000 247. In addition, if you have concerns about your current or ex-partner, because you're worried, they may have a history of abuse and are a risk to you, then you can submit a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) application.

"The scheme, also known as Clare’s law, enables the police to release information about any previous history of violence or abuse that a person might have. To find out more about Clare’s law, or to submit a DVDS application, visit the Cheshire police website."

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