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Shetland man sentenced for campaign of domestic abuse

A 62 year-old man who subjected his wife to decades of abuse has been sentenced to 32 months imprisonment at Lerwick Sheriff Court.

Robert Simmons, a self-employed crofter, pled guilty to 11 charges related to the physical and verbal abuse of his wife.

The court heard that from December 1988 until March 2017 Simmons used a variety of abusive means to humiliate, dominate and assert control and tried to validate and excuse his behaviour.

Over a significant period of time, Simmons subjected his wife to a series of violent and degrading assaults which took many forms, including forcing his victim into an outbuilding where he would make her stand before hosing her with cold water.

On one occasion in the early nineties when she fled their home on foot Simmons chased her in the family estate car and forced her into the boot space.

In late 1997, Simmons carried out an assault by instructing her to lie on the floor before putting his foot on her head and forcing her head down into the floor with such force that she was subsequently left with two black eyes.

The pattern of behaviour continued with Simmons striking his wife in May 2015 following a minor disagreement which left her with a bleeding nose and a black eye.

Speaking following the sentencing, Anne Marie Hicks, National Procurator Fiscal for Domestic Abuse said:

“Robert Simmons’ violent and controlling course of conduct, which endured over a period of decades, has caused his victim untold distress.

“I would like to commend the victim for having the courage to come forward and for her bravery in helping bring Simmons to justice.

“Violent and abusive behaviour, such as Simmons’ is never acceptable and we strongly encourage anyone who has been a victim of any such offences, no matter when they occurred, to report this to the police.

“COPFS are committed to prosecuting crimes of domestic abuse effectively and appropriately, and to working with the police and our partners, to support victims through the criminal justice process.”