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Male domestic abuse survivor issues heartbreaking advice to people in violent relationships in harrowing new documentary

Male domestic abuse survivor issues heartbreaking advice to people in violent relationships in harrowing new documentary

The Channel 5 tells the harrowing story of Sheree Spencer's 20-year abuse of husband Richard

Domestic violence can be inflicted on anyone.

What was previously viewed as a predominantly male-led crime has rightfully shifted to include female abusers, with harmful prior connotations surrounding male victims starting to dissolve and more and more men reporting the violence they've faced at the hands of their partners.

One of these men is Richard Spencer, who was subjected to 20 years of harrowing mental and physical abuse at the hands of his wife, Sheree.

From the outside, it appeared as though the Yorkshire couple were living an idyllic family life.

Having fallen head over heels in love, tying the knot in a romantic ceremony, Richard bagged a six-figure job.

The couple welcomed three beautiful children together, purchased a Jaguar car and an impressive detached property.

It appeared as though they were living their happily ever after.

What no one knew, however - Richard's family and friends included - was that an alcohol-dependant Sheree was berating and beating her husband behind closed doors on a daily basis.

Richard began documenting the physical abuse he endured.
Channel 5

One of 'the worst cases of coercive control'

Richard's stomach-churning story has now been told in a brand new documentary - which aired on Channel 5 last night - titled My Wife, My Abuser: The Secret Footage.

Among the multitude of tear-jerking incidents the terrified father recalls on the programme are when his wife cracked eggs over his head with such force that the shells caused his scalp to bleed and when she attacked him with a wine bottle - which would result in permanent damage to his ear.

Over the two decades they were together, Sheree urinated in his car, defecated on his head, pulled his hair out, kicked and punched him, branded him a 'fat c**t' and a 'lazy b*****d', and in one heart-stopping held a knife up to his throat.

A judge later described the abuse as one of the 'worst cases of coercive control' they'd ever seen.

Sheree subjected Richard to heartbreaking abuse.
Channel 5

Compiling evidence

In fear of the terror that his wife could one day inflict onto her own children, Richard soon began documenting his injuries with photographic evidence, and even set up hidden cameras around the home to monitor Sheree's violence.

Having reached rock bottom, Richard one day reached out to a friendly neighbour, opening up on the heinous abuse he was facing.

This interaction, he claims, spurred him to show one of his close friends, Tony, the recordings and photographs he'd compiled over the years.

The horrified friend then forwarded the evidence to their local police, who subsequently arrested Sheree.

During the investigation, she attempted to shift the blame onto Richard, claiming she was victim to his drink-induced fits of rage.

In shocking police footage, Sheree attributes images of bite marks on his body on sexual games, and argues that the footage of her threatening Richard with a knife was actually self-defence, claiming she wanted to get him away from her.

Thankfully for Richard and his daughters, Sheree was convicted of coercive and controlling behaviour and three counts of actual bodily harm, and is currently serving a four year sentence.

Richard recorded the abuse he was subjected to.
Channel 5

"I don't want to accept that was me"

What has left hundreds of documentary viewers utterly heartbroken, however, was the advice that Richard issued to people enduring similarly abusive relationships.

He told Channel 5 audiences he's still 'relieved' to this day to have opened up to someone about the devastation he was enduring, and wishes he'd done so sooner.

"I look at that person [himself] and think how pathetic they were, how weak they were, how brainwashed they must have been," he admitted. "I don't want to accept that that was me."

He went on to recall his conversation with Tony following Sheree's arrest.

"I spoke to Tony on the phone and told him how thankful I was. I couldn't believe he'd done this for me," he admitted.

He even confessed that, if Sheree had abused him out of the sight of his children, he'd continue to suffer in silence without reaching out.

Richard says he's relieved to have opened up to someone about Sheree's crimes.
Channel 5

Now, however, he's pleading for other victims to reach out if in a domestically violent relationship.

"I'm free," he smiled. "I'm free from everything she's done to me for all this time.

"It was a massive relief - a massive weight off my shoulders - knowing that she couldn't come back, couldn't contact me, she couldn't send me an abusive message, couldn't ring me."

If you are experiencing domestic violence, please know that you are not alone. You can talk in confidence to the national domestic violence helpline Refuge on 0808 2000 247, available 24/7, or via live chat, available 3pm-10pm, Monday to Friday.

Featured Image Credit: Credit: Channel 5

Topics: Sex and Relationships, Mental Health, Documentaries, TV And Film, Channel 5, Crime, True Crime