A victim of coercive control has described the moment her jealous, controlling ex-boyfriend, was sentenced at Crown Court this month.

Michelle Couzins, 43, said: “I’m really pleased with the result. I set out to stop others going through what I did, either by having him realise he needed to change or being recognised as a perpetrator.

“So he has a chance to show he has changed, and if he doesn’t and this is all a farce, then he will mess up. He is in the hands of the court now.

“I’m also over the moon that I can also help others stuck in my situation by sharing my story. So I feel I really came out on top.”

Ms Couzins, who is a senior carer in a care home, said she met Liam O’Keeffe through online dating and thought him “funny, fun, really charming” at the beginning.

However, as they settled into a permanent relationship, the 24-year old Mitcham man became increasingly more controlling.

Mr O’Keeffe, who assumed a fake name, insisted she take her phone calls on loudspeaker so he could listen in, restricted what she could wear, and took her money so she had to rely on him.

Ms Couzins said she still struggles with nightmares, tics such as head jerking movements, irritability, and feelings of worthlessness two years after breaking up with her ex.

Mr O’Keeffe was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on October 19 to 21 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and a restraining order made for 10 years.

He pleaded guilty to putting a person in fear of violence by harassment and controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship.

If you experience domestic violence, ring the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline on 0808 2000 247.