Controlling husband jailed after decades of domestic abuse

A controlling husband who subjected his wife to almost 30 years of domestic abuse has been jailed.

Lerwick Sheriff Court. Picture: Crown
Lerwick Sheriff Court. Picture: Crown

Self-employed crofter Robert Simmons, 62, used a variety of abusive means to dominate and humiliate his spouse and assert control over her.

His actions, which included hosing her down with cold water in an outbuilding, caused his victim “untold distress”, prosecutors said.

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Simmons, who previously admitted 11 charges of physical and verbal abuse, was jailed for two years and eight months when he returned for sentencing to Lerwick Sheriff Court, Shetland, on Wednesday.

The Crown Office, who revealed details of the case and sentencing, said the campaign of abuse ran from December 1988 until March this year.

Simmons would subject his wife to a string of violent and degrading assaults, which took many forms, and would try to validate and excuse his behaviour.

On an occasion in the early 1990s, when his wife fled their home on foot, Simmons chased her in the family estate car and forced her into the boot, prosecutors said.

In 1997, he ordered her to lie on the floor before putting his foot on her head and forcing it into the floor with such force that she was left with two black eyes.

More recently, he struck the woman during a minor disagreement, giving her a bleeding nose and a black eye.

Anne Marie Hicks, national procurator fiscal for domestic abuse, said after the hearing: “Robert Simmons’ violent and controlling course of conduct, which endured over a period of decades, has caused his victim untold distress.

“I would like to commend the victim for having the courage to come forward and for her bravery in helping bring Simmons to justice.”