Jail for South Yorkshire 'bully' who beat partner days before she took her own life

James Sims
James Sims
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A 'controlling' South Yorkshire man has been jailed for assaulting his partner, who took her own life a short time after his second attack on her.

James Sims was sentenced to 16 months in prison during a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday for two assaults against his former partner, and for breaching the notification requirements of the sex offenders' register that he was made the subject of following a 2005 conviction for rape.

Sims, 36, attacked his partner in two separate incidents in June and August of last year and the woman, who was mum to two young children, killed herself on August 26, 2017, prosecutor, Mark Brookes, told the court.

Passing sentence, Recorder Sophie Drake, told Sims: "It's said by the prosecution that you and your behaviour did not directly result in her taking her own life, but it's clear from her victim personal statement that you scared her, she lost weight, she went back on depression and anxiety medication, she was anxious, she was frightened.

"Although it may not be said you were directly to blame, your behaviour clearly cannot have helped.

"You have to accept you in some way you contributed towards her mental state."

She added: "It's clear from the offences that you are a controlling bully, and it's clear that's what you were doing to her."

Mr Brookes told the court that the first assault took place when Sims turned up at the South Yorkshire pub the woman worked at and assaulted her by 'grabbing her by both arms'.

In August, Sims, in drink, assaulted her again at her home in a violent attack in which he put the woman in a head lock, dragged her by her hair and put his hands around her throat, the court heard.

Police were called to the scene, and Sims was subsequently arrested.

During police interview the woman explained that Sims had stayed overnight at her house while her two children, aged one and six, were at home some 40 times.

As part of his notification requirements, Sims is legally obliged to tell the police if he stays overnight at a new address, or if he spends 12 hours or more at a property with children under 18.

Sims, of Clough Road, Masbrough pleaded guilty to one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, one count of assault by beating and two counts of breaching the notification requirements of the sex offenders' register at an earlier hearing.

Andrew Swaby, defending, said: "He's tried to put his past behind him, but to his credit he's not committed any further offences of that [a sexual] nature.

"He's had the good sense not to go to a trial in respect of these matters."

Sims has been on remand since August, which means he has already served the majority of the 16-month prison sentence Recorder Drake made him the subject of, the court heard.