April 18 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, February 22, 2014
A woman was bound and gagged and kept a prisoner for five hours by her boyfriend because he believed she was possessed by demons, a court has heard.
Melissa Cousins and her partner Charles McBride had been living rough and were sleeping in a Second World War bunker near Lowestoft when McBride told her to hold out her hands so that he could tie her up, Ipswich Crown Court was told.
Initially Miss Cousins, who had been in a relationship with McBride for two years, thought he was messing about but realised he was serious when he threatened to break her arms if she didn’t do as she was told, said Martin Ivory, prosecuting.
After tying her hands together with shoelaces from her boots McBride tied her legs together with tape and string. “She was scared and frightened and crying,” said Mr Ivory.
He had then zipped up 27-year-old Ms Cousins’ sleeping bag with her in it and pulled it over her head while reciting extracts from the bible.
Ms Cousins kicked off the sleeping bag and shouted for help but McBride covered her nose and mouth with his hand making it difficult for her to breathe.
He then threatened to hit her with a torch if she didn’t keep quiet and had slammed the torch down next to her to reinforce the threat, said Mr Ivory.
McBride had then stuffed a green army sock into her mouth and taped it in place but Ms Cousins had managed to spit it out.
She had then tried to calm McBride down but it was five hours before he released her after she agreed to let him record her saying she would kill a Freemason.
Miss Cousins had later reported the incident and the police were called.
McBride, 34, of no fixed address admitted common assault and false imprisonment in September and was jailed for six years with an extended licence period of five years.
Jeremy Rendell for McBride said his client had been diagnosed by a psychiatrist as having a severe mixed personality disorder.
He said McBride had genuinely believed that Ms Cousins was possessed by demons at the time of the incident. “It didn’t entitle him to act in that way but his genuine belief was that he was acting in her best interests,” said Mr Rendell.
He said Ms Cousins had made a withdrawal statement to police in which she said she didn’t view McBride’s actions during the incident as malicious.
He said McBride no longer wanted a relationship with Ms Cousins.