Violent boyfriend ordered woman hide in wardrobe when police arrived

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A DESPERATE woman sent out text messages for help after being ordered into a wardrobe by her violent boyfriend.

Philip Avery, 26, told Rebecca Berry to hide when police turned up at a house after an attack last December.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the police failed to find the cowering mum during their first search of the property.

The desperate victim, who claims she fears Avery could kill her in an attack, started texting family and friends to get the officers to come back.

Avery was on bail for a previous assault on her when the couple went to a friend’s house.

Prosecutor Andrew Walker told the court the pair started arguing when she refused him access to check personal messages on her Facebook page.

The police came to the house after Avery threw a “hard” punch to Miss Berry’s face.

Mr Walker said: “The defendant had instructed Miss Berry to hide in the wardrobe. Police searched the property but initially didn’t find her.

“After they left, Miss Berry started texting her mother and her friend that she was still in the wardrobe.

“They contacted the police, the police came back, searched the property again and this time Miss Berry was found in the bedroom.

“She described how she had texted her friend because she wanted it to appear as though the police had found her, rather than she was revealing herself and incurring the wrath of the defendant.” Avery was arrested and told police he “wouldn’t batter her for nothing” and admitted he had “knocked her about” in the past.

Avery, of St Michaels, Houghton, pleaded guilty to common assault and a charge of assault in relation to a punching and kicking attack on Miss Berry a month earlier.

Miss Berry, who has been attacked by Avery previously during their five-year relationship, told police in a statement: “I fear he will assault me so badly, he could go as far as to kill me.”

Bob Spragg, defending, said Miss Berry had stubbed a cigarette out on Avery’s face before the attack in November, and it was she who contacted Avery while he was on bail for the first assault.

Judge David Wood jailed Avery for 18 months and said he must stay away from Miss Berry under the terms of a five-year restraining order.