She left notes asking him for help around the house and less time at the gym. Then she got arrested under the same law that was meant to protect helpless women.
Being married means a lot more than just making great memories with your partner or going on romantic dates. It involves both partners taking on shared responsibilities and compromising. That means sharing errands and doing their bit for the chores around the house. Sometimes that can end in fights, but for this 58-year-old wife, it was far more than a fight. Metro UK reports the bizarre story.
All Valerie Sanders asked her bodybuilder husband Michael, 58, was to vacuum, clean the patio doors and not go to the gym so often, according to Standard UK. “I’d leave a note asking him to vacuum parts of the house and clean the patio doors. We have two miniature dachshunds. But he would spend four hours cleaning his car – so of course, I complained," she said.
Valerie said, reported the DailyStar, “He was training all the time. He was eating five or six meals a day and mushing up all his food in the blender. We stopped going out for meals. I was working and he was at the gym from early in the morning until late at night. I just didn’t see him. He started to do bodybuilding competitions. It wasn't attractive. It was like cuddling an ironing board. He started to take Viagra, blaming the steroids. But when he took the tablets it made him sniffy and snotty so I refused to sleep with him."
What she did not expect from was the police showing up at her doorstep. Instead of there being just a disagreement between husband and wife, she was arrested. Two vans and four officers turned up to arrest her, take her to the police station and throw her in a cell.
Why? Because the following day, she was charged with “coercive or controlling behavior” which is a law that is actually meant to protect vulnerable women. For 14 months, her case was reviewed by the court but this week, it was thrown out even before it went to trial. The shocked wife described that time as “hell.”
"These laws were brought in to help protect vulnerable people who are suffering in relationships - not to prosecute nagging wives. It’s outrageous it ever got to court,” Mrs. Sanders told the Sun. As for the notes and asking him to help out around the house she asks, “Surely it isn’t controlling behavior otherwise every married couple would be in court?”
She had met her husband online in 2012 and married in 2014. He had his own two bits to say about the incident. “I’m not sure if she should have gone to court or not. That was not my decision – but she was controlling. She was constantly on at me.” According to the Daily Mail, Michael stated that after the first six months of the marriage, he started falling into depression and began having suicidal thoughts because he "just couldn't cope anymore with the constant nagging."
MSN Lifestyle reported that in 2018 Jobcentre staff called in the police when Michael who is a former prison officer - made redundant but started working in a gym - said his home life was causing his sadness, during a routine check on his new job. It was after that that the police showed up to arrest Valerie.
The case was listed for trial at Teesside Crown Court on Tuesday but was dismissed before a jury was sworn in. Valerie's "not guilty" plea was accepted, however, she was slapped with a two-year restraining order. Although, it seems like that's not a problem for her as she said, “17 hours in a prison cell broke my love for him. It’s such a relief it is all over.”
The court announced the decision to drop the case, claiming, “We prosecute cases where there is sufficient evidence of coercive and controlling behavior. In this case, after a key witness decided to no longer support the prosecution, we concluded there was no longer sufficient evidence."
The couple is now divorcing.
Disclaimer: This story was originally published on July 2, 2019. There has been no update in this article ever since.