A woman was arrested and spent the night in a police cell after reportedly asking her husband to help with the chores.
Valerie Sanders claimed she had only asked her bodybuilder husband Michael, 58, to vacuum, clean the patio doors and not go to the gym so often.
However, she was prosecuted for ‘coercive or controlling behaviour’ after Jobcentre staff visiting Michael noticed his unhappy mood and contacted the police.
Valerie, from Catterick, North Yorkshire, said she was ‘treated like a criminal’ for simply telling her husband to do some hoovering, claiming he spent most of his time at the gym or washing his car rather than help out at home.
She claims she left notes for her husband asking him to vacuum parts of the house and clean the patio doors. The couple had two miniature dachshunds, which Valerie says shedded all over the house.
Police were called to the house 14 months ago, with two vans and four officers turning up at the couple’s home. Cleaning firm boss Valerie was charged, although the case was thrown out this week just moments before a trial was due to start.
Valerie said, as per The Sun:
Surely it isn’t controlling behaviour otherwise every married couple would be in court? It’s outrageous this ever got to court.
The couple met online in 2012 and got married two years later. After getting made redundant as a CCTV operator, Michael got a job as a gym manager. This is when Valerie, who has two grown-up daughters, says her husband became obsessed with bodybuilding.
However, 58-year-old Michael hit back, saying:
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. She used to leave the vacuum out or the polish and wanted me to clean every day because of the dogs.
Valerie argued Michael was training so much she never saw him, and then began taking Viagra ‘because he said he couldn’t get an erection, blaming the steroids’. However, she claims the Viagra made him ‘sniffy and snotty’ so she refused to sleep with him.
Michael, also a former prison officer, claimed Valerie initially encouraged the bodybuilding but then started complaining when the Viagra made him congested. ‘She’d say I couldn’t go anywhere near her like that,’ he explained.
Jobcentre staff carrying out a routine check noticed Michael’s mood had changed for the worse, and he blamed his home life. So in April 2018, staff told police who turned up at their home shortly afterwards.
Valerie was taken to the police station and locked in a cell for the night; she was charged the next day. After having her house keys taken away, she had to stay at a friend’s house.
The case was listed for trial at Teesside Crown and County Court on Tuesday (June 25), but was dismissed before a jury was sworn in. Valerie’s not guilty plea was accepted in return for a two-year restraining order.
The CPS said:
We prosecute cases where there is sufficient evidence of coercive and controlling behaviour. In this case, after a key witness decided to no longer support the prosecution, we concluded there was no longer sufficient evidence.
The couple are now divorcing.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).