'Toe-curling' account of coercive control LBC listeners brand 'heartbreaking'

5 May 2022, 15:35 | Updated: 5 May 2022, 19:35

By Seán Hickey

Shelagh Fogarty was left speechless after hearing this caller's disturbing experience of being controlled by her ex-husband.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

LBC listeners were sharing their personal and anecdotal accounts of domestic abuse and coercive control as a court in Virginia, USA hears testimony from Hollywood actress Amber Heard in the defamation trial her ex-husband Johnny Depp has taken against her.

Read more: 'It changed my life': Tearful Amber Heard recalls first time Johnny Depp 'slapped her'

Susan phoned in from Bristol to share her story. She told listeners that she met her ex-husband, who is nine years older than her was "really controlling" from the very start of their relationship, vetting who she met and where she was allowed to go on her own.

"I just became a mother. I didn't go anywhere, I didn't do anything, I wasn't really allowed to have friends. If I did have friends, he would come between those friendships."

Detailing the extent of the coercion, she described how her ex-husband would weaponise their children to make her reconsider leaving the house to see friends or family, adding that "as soon as the children were in bed he would start being really nasty."

The caller went on to tell Shelagh that she got "really brave" when her children went to school and started her own gardening business.

Read more: 'Let's drown her before we burn her': Court hears shocking Johnny Depp texts about Amber Heard

"He would turn up with an ice cream, and make it out as though he was being nice", she said. "He was spying on you" Shelagh nodded.

The control went ever deeper, the caller explained: "He'd record the mileage on my vehicle and then ask me where I'd been. Then he'd say 'well your mileage doesn't add up'." Shelagh couldn't believe her ears.

Read more: Caller Considers Leaving Her Husband After Hearing LBC Phone-In On Domestic Abuse

"My toes are curling!" She then asked how Susan got herself out of the situation. She explained that she began to stand up for herself "when the children got older", confiding in a male friend.

"It was really hard to admit I had let it get that bad."

She then told listeners that once her husband smelled the aftershave of her friend, he got "really physical", with her son witnessing the abuse.

She went on to explain how her ex-husband threatened to lose his job and tell their children it was mummy's fault if she detailed the full extent of the abuse to the police.

Susan told LBC she went ahead with divorcing her ex, but her children were split in custody hearings – as their father only wanted custody of their son

"They split my children up like they were material possessions", she said, telling Shelagh that her daughter grew up knowing her father "didn't want her".

"It's damaged me for life."

If you are affected by the issues raised above you can contact The Dash Charity on 01753 549865 or Refuge on 020 7395 7700.

More Shelagh Fogarty News

See more More Shelagh Fogarty News

'Mick Lynch is inspirational': Frustrated NHS doctor says she'd strike if given the chance

'Mick Lynch is inspirational': Frustrated NHS doctor says she'd strike if given the chance

Child abuse scandal: Mother of victim reveals 'despicable' police response

'I begged for help': Mother of child abuse victim reveals 'despicable' police failings

'Panadol's my best friend': Caller says he's hired EU staff to avoid Brexit 'headache'

'Panadol's my best friend': Caller says he's hired EU staff to avoid Brexit 'headache'

Shelagh Fogarty caller 'ashamed' to say he voted for Brexit

'I just feel so much regret': Shelagh Fogarty caller 'ashamed' to say he voted for Brexit

James O'Brien blasts Ministers for boosting city fat cats' pay 'to show benefits of Brexit'

James O'Brien blasts Ministers for boosting city fat cats' pay 'to show benefits of Brexit'

Veteran journalist demands answers after Carrie Johnson story pulled

Veteran journalist demands answers after Carrie Johnson story pulled

Ex-England gymnast speaks out about abuse suffered from coach

Ex-England gymnast speaks out about abuse suffered from coach

UK's farmland being sacrificed to house 'illegal' migrants, caller fumes

UK's farmland being sacrificed to house 'illegal' migrants, caller fumes

Shelagh Fogarty warns of Grenfell fire and Hillsborough response 'parallels'

'Real parallels with Hillsborough': Shelagh Fogarty on Grenfell handling

Shelagh Fogarty clashes with caller who defends Rebel Wilson's 'outing'

Shelagh Fogarty clashes with caller who defends Rebel Wilson's 'outing'

Cigarettes could become green or warn of minutes of life lost, says smoking review leader

Cigarettes could become green or warn of minutes of life lost, says smoking review leader

Railway worker opens up to Shelagh Fogarty about plan to strike amid cost of living struggle

Railway worker opens up about plan to strike amid cost of living struggle

England legend Luther Blissett says Gareth Southgate 'wrong' on racial abuse

Ex-England star Luther Blissett says Gareth Southgate 'wrong' on racial abuse

Shelagh Fogarty argues Gareth Southgate shouldn't let racism concern influence penalty picks

Shelagh Fogarty argues Southgate shouldn't let racism concern influence penalty picks

'I'd have been tempted to boo': Shelagh Fogarty compares Jubilee-booing of Boris to former politicians

'I'd have been tempted': Shelagh Fogarty compares booing of Boris to ex-politicians

Andrew Marr: We are all Elizabethans, that's who we are

Andrew Marr: We are all Elizabethans