Stacey Booth, 24, claims her ex-boyfriend left her with a bruised and swollen lip
A young undertaker who lived in terror of her abusive and controlling fiancé feared co-workers and family would end up arranging her funeral.
Stacey Booth, 24, claims her boyfriend of seven years Alexander Heavens, 24, psychologically abused her and bit, punched and bruised her.
Heavens was so paranoid he waited until Miss Booth was asleep before using her thumb to unlock her touchscreen phone’s fingerprint recognition and access her texts and emails, a court heard.
Miss Booth, from Blackley in Greater Manchester, became so convinced she would die that she started making secret recordings of Heavens and sent them to herself to let her family know what had happened.
Heavens pleaded guilty to engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship at Manchester Crown Court.
But in an unusual move, on Monday Judge Martin Rudland deferred the sentence for six months to allow him time to ‘deal with his demons’.
After the pair got engaged on Miss Booth’s 21st birthday in 2015, Heavens began taking cocaine and his behaviour changed, the court heard.
The prosecutor told the court Heavens ‘bit and bruised’ Miss Booth’s arm and would grab her finger and use it to unlock her phone while she slept.
The prosecutor said Miss Booth was ‘pushed to the kitchen floor, stood on and trampled on.’
Alexander Heavens (left) waited until Miss Booth (right) had gone to sleep before using Touch ID technology via her own fingerprints to gain access to her texts and emails
After the pair got engaged on Miss Booth’s 21st birthday in 2015, Heavens began taking cocaine and his behaviour changed
Miss Booth shared these images of bite marks and bruises on her arm
When he was interviewed by police in January this year, Heavens denied all allegations and said it made him laugh to say he was controlling ‘as he had never lay a finger on her,’ the court heard.
Images of Miss Booth’s injuries, and her allegations of being attacked by Heavens, did not form a part of his conviction.
Stacey Booth, whose thumb was used to unlock her phone with TouchID, said her boyfriend ‘always had issues with his temper’
Miss Booth hopes her story will inspire others to get out of abusive and controlling relationships.
She said: ‘I feel like having that [engagement] ring and being engaged gave him more control over me.
‘I used to record him towards the end because I felt like no one would believe me.
‘That’s what helped me get him into the courtroom. I used to put my phone face down and as he drifted off to sleep I’d put my camera on because I knew he’d start.
‘He would be saying ‘put your password in your phone, put it in your phone’.
‘He would check through all my social media, all my work friends who I work with. He used to check through everything.
‘The last year, I felt like someone I worked with would [end up] working on my body. It just felt like a matter of time.
‘I actually sat there in work and thought ‘this could be my family sat at this table, this could be my mum, my dad, my brothers, sat at this table talking about me because of what he’s done’.
Heavens pleaded guilty to engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship at Manchester Crown Court, but on Monday a judge deferred sentencing until May
Miss Booth fled their home shortly before her 23rd birthday in October 2017.
She added: ‘I felt like one day I wouldn’t be here to tell anyone what had happened to me.
‘[Making those recordings] was like a survival instinct. I thought if one day they go on my laptop, they will see what he did to me.
‘I was hiding evidence on my laptop in case anything ever came of it and I wasn’t here to tell the story.’
In mitigation, defence lawyer Stuart Duke said: ‘The defendant accepts he is guilty of controlling behaviour. This was his first long term relationship. He accepts he behaved badly. He was drinking a lot after the breakup, he took it badly, and he was taking cocaine.’
Heaven’s family today denied her claims, adding: ‘We are not prepared to give any more comments until May. It is inappropriate to comment at this time due to the ongoing case.’