A mum who was subjected to a six-year campaign of horrific domestic violence has slammed her abuser’s 21 month jail sentence as “disgusting”.
Nicola Frost, 32, revealed how her violent and controlling ex-boyfriend forced her to get a series of tattoos of his name on her body - including one reading "Property of AJ Wharton".
Aaron James Wharton, 31, left Frost fearing for her life following one attack during which she was punched, kicked, strangled and had a knife pressed to her face in a three-hour ordeal.
Each year two million people in the UK are affected by domestic abuse. During the coronavirus lockdown there was a sharp increase in incidents as victims were trapped at home with perpetrators.
Frost, who finally contacted police after the attack in February 2019, said Wharton would "control every aspect of her life".
He made her get several tattoos of his name or initials on her body so "nobody else would touch her" because she was "his property".
Wharton, of Rosedale Road, Northampton, was convicted of Actual Bodily Harm and jailed for 21 months at Northampton Crown Court last Friday (21 August). He was also handed a ten-year restraining order banning him contacting his former partner.
But Frost has blasted his sentence as too lenient.
She said: “The sentence for this is disgusting. No amount of time can repay what he has done to me and my kids.
“Knowing he is going to get out in a year means it is not long enough. People like him don’t change.”
Speaking out after Wharton’s conviction in the hope that other victims of domestic violence will find the courage to speak out, Frost revealed how she became trapped in a spiral of escalating mental and physical torture and was isolated from friends and family.
The mum-of-five, from Northampton, said: "The first year was perfect. He treated me like a princess. But the next five years were a living hell.
“He controlled every aspect of my life.”
Wharton would take his partner’s bank card, and refuse to let her communicate with friends.
“He would hit me multiple times and stepped on my face quite regularly, punch me and slap me, and throw me against the walls.
“He gave me a black eye and split lip a few times, but I was too scared to tell anyone and he knew I didn’t have anyone else.
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“He made me get tattoos of his name on me. One said: ‘Property of AJ Wharton’.”
Frost, who had two children with Wharton, broke up with him in June 2018 after suspecting he was cheating.
She said she tried to remain on good terms with him for the sake of their children up until the night of his most violent attack in February last year.
She revealed how her ex flew into a drunken rage following a night out and only stopped the brutal assault when he fell asleep.
She said: "He knocked at my door at 3am. He punched me in the face within minutes. He put a knife to my face and cut my cheek. It was like he was possessed.
“He was angry I was getting on with my life and he couldn’t let go. He was saying I was his property.
“He started hitting me with multiple punches, knocked me to the floor and started kicking me. It didn’t matter if I was up or down, he would hit me.
“He was drunk and if he hadn’t fallen asleep I don’t think I’d be here today.”
Frost said she wanted to go public with her experience to help other victims to find a way out.
She said: “There are so many people in abusive relationships who can’t speak out. Now I can, I am trying to help someone else by doing so.
"People need to know the signs and see it as abuse and to not doubt themselves, follow through and get out.
“I would love to campaign on this and raise awareness for women and men all over the world in abusive relationships.
“I’d like to see increased funding for domestic abuse victims. There are charities like Women’s Aid but they don’t have enough.
"The effect on me has been long standing. Sometimes I don't even trust my own family and I shudder when someone raises a hand.
"I am now un-training myself from what he trained me to be, mainly not having to ask permission to do anything.
“But now I can understand myself better and get on with my life because he’s in prison.”
A recent survey conducted by domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid revealed that more than two-thirds of survivors felt that domestic abuse escalated under lockdown, and 72% said that their abuser had more control over their life since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
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