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Crime Mid Wales Powys

Harassment victim praised for facing emotionally abusive ex in court

Police have praised a woman who faced her emotionally abusive and controlling ex-partner in court as he begins a jail sentence for harassment and intimidation.

Dyfed-Powys Police have praised the victim, who was bombarded with hundreds phone calls, texts and emails, for her strength in speaking out and facing defendant Gary Suff in court.

Suff, aged 31, of Canal Close in Newtown, began emotionally abusing and blackmailing his former girlfriend following their breakup in August 2020,

His behaviour escalated into an intense month-long campaign during which he repeatedly threatened to take his own life if the victim did not reply, forcing her to finally report the abuse to police.

Chief Inspector Jacqui Lovatt said: “The victim provided officers with an in-depth account of the emotional suffering she had been subjected to.

“She had tried replying to Suff’s emails initially in an attempt to appease him and make the situation more manageable for herself, however he was determined to continue his campaign against her.

“He continually threatened to harm himself if she did not reply to his messages in a bid to control her, and demanded photos to show where she was and who she was with.

“This is very concerning behaviour and was clearly having a negative effect on the victim who felt she had no choice but to reply or he would make her feel responsible for his self-harming.”

Officers investigating discovered that Suff had changed his mobile number four times in as many months to keep contacting his former partner when she blocked his calls. He had also moved onto making contact by email when she blocked him on social media.

The victim provided police with masses of photographic evidence of emails she had received, many of which contained graphic and disturbing images.

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CI Lovatt said: “Suff was consuming large amounts of cocaine and alcohol daily, making him very unpredictable and dangerous.

“We ensured all possible safeguarding advice and measures – including alarms and CCTV – were given to the victim during our investigation.”

Even after arrest, however, he continued his attempts to contact and control her by contacting a friend. He threatened that if officers accessed his phone they would find incriminating messages which would get the victim into trouble and prompt Social Services involvement, maintaining he was acting in her best interests.

The defendant was further arrested on suspicion of intimidating a witness.

He was charged with harassment causing fear of violence, and intimidation, which he admitted when he appeared at Mold Crown Court on Thursday, July 8.

He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

During the hearing, the victim read her own impact statement, saying Suff’s behaviour led her to feel constantly apprehensive and alone.

She said: “Throughout my relationship with Gary I have been made to feel that any issue he has is my fault.

“He has been paranoid and jealous from the start often meaning I have had to go out of my way to prove that I have been faithful to him. Because of this I do not want to go out and socialise.”

She added: “I am always apprehensive as I feel I am constantly waiting for the text messages to start so isolate myself as I feel I could deal with the constant messages while I am at home.”

CI Lovatt said: “We hope this sentence, along with a restraining order, will allow the victim to move on and begin rebuilding her life.

“I would like to commend her for finding the courage to come forward and report this abuse to police, which I know wasn’t an easy decision to make. She also chose to face Suff in court and describe in person the impact his abuse had on her mental wellbeing, which shows immense strength despite the control he has tried to impose on her over a number of months.

“I would urge anyone else facing similar behaviour from a partner or a former partner to follow in her footsteps and come forward. We are here to support and help you.”