Woman seeks justice as ex-partner’s sentence for abuse is reduced

Bethany Haines said the punishment that Andrew Murray was given did not reflect the crimes he committed against her. Picture: PA
Bethany Haines said the punishment that Andrew Murray was given did not reflect the crimes he committed against her. Picture: PA
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The daughter of a British aid worker murdered by Islamic State (IS) terrorists has vowed to “fight for justice” as she spoke out about the overturning of a jail term given to her controlling former partner.

Bethany Haines – the daughter of David Haines, who was beheaded in Syria in 2014 after being kidnapped – said community punishments do not reflect the impact that such controlling actions can have upon victims.

Andrew Murray was jailed for 21 months in October after he admitted causing his ex-partner fear or alarm with his behaviour.

His sentence was reduced on appeal earlier this year to 200 hours of community service, court officials confirmed.

Ms Haines, 20, said in an interview: “It’s absolutely disgusting – no-one should be let out that early after committing the crimes like he did.”

Reflecting on her ordeal, she said: “It was love at first sight, [we were] really into each other. Things were going great and I started noticing little things like I wasn’t allowed to wear fake tan, I wasn’t allowed to paint my nails, wear tight jeans.

“Then when I moved into my own property, Andrew moved in with me and things escalated very quickly. It got to the point that I didn’t feel safe any more.”

Vowing to campaign for justice for other victims of emotional abuse and controlling behaviour, she said: “These crimes damage a lot of people psychologically and it can take years of getting back to knowing who you are again.

“These punishments don’t reflect that. It’s not over till I say it’s over and I will fight for my justice and any other girl or boy that’s put in that position and doesn’t have punishment.”

MSPs last month passed a “momentous” new law which creates a specific offence of domestic abuse in Scotland.

Perth Sheriff Court heard last year how Ms Haines was left “scared and belittled” by her controlling on-off partner, who also defaced a scrapbook she kept to remember her late father.

The court was told Murray, then 22, was jealous of Ms Haines’s male friends and would accuse her of being unfaithful to him.

During their relationship between January and October 2016, he tampered with her mobile phone and punched a hole in the bedroom door of the home they shared in Perth and Kinross.

Murray also repeatedly checked her mobile phone and social media messages, and insisted she remove about 50 male friends from her Facebook account.