The abuser made his partner feel like a ‘prisoner’ in her own home

A 36-year-old man who made his girlfriend feel like a ‘prisoner’ in her own home has been found guilty of abuse.

Mark Gilhespy had denied being violent towards his partner, forcing her to give evidence during a trial at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday.

Appearing via video link, she told the court how Gilhespy physically restrained her from leaving her own Lerwick home, grabbed her by the throat and threw her naked to the ground.

The court heard seven rude voicemails Gilhespy left during which he called her a “dirty tramp” and a “horrible tease”.

Text messages were read in which the partner told Gilhespy he had made her “feel like a prisoner in my own house”.

“Never in my life have I been treated the way you have treated me,” the text read.

Gilhespy responded to the text, hinting that he would kill himself.

Tax attorney Duncan MacKenzie said Gilhespy “guilted” her with the suicide threat.

The court heard the relationship, which lasted from July to October 3 last year, soured when the partner moved into a flat in Lerwick where Gilhespy also spent most of his time.

“Mark just changed,” she said.

“He didn’t particularly like me spending time with anyone other than him, including his family.

“He questioned me about everything I was doing and accused me of having affairs with co-workers, just to be taken home.”

She said Gilhespy would call her names like “bitch, bitch and liar”.

Usually a people person, the former partner said it “became easier not to see people”.

The questioning continued at work, where she said she would receive up to 10 messages a day from him.

She said he would also message her when he visits his son in the Newcastle area, where he is from.

Gilhespy, who now lives in Boldon Colliery, Tyne and Weir, would get “really, really mean” when he didn’t believe her, she said.

“He was insulting me and it was almost like he found it funny.

“There were times he would laugh in my face and call me a liar.

“He could see that I was very distressed by this, but he didn’t want to stop.

“It was almost like he liked it.”

She said the abuse started during the last week of the relationship when a co-worker drove her home and Gilhespy accused her of having sex with him. She tried to leave but said he physically stopped her.

“At one point I was standing at my front door and trying to open it and he was closing it and grabbing me and pulling me,” she said.

The next morning, she said Gilhespy was still “obsessed with that guy who drove me.” That’s when she said he grabbed her by the neck and threw her to the ground.

She said the third attack happened when she made a “stupid, drunken decision” to go to Gilhespy’s early one morning.

After more “shouting and swearing,” she said Gilhepsy “pinned me to the couch” and “stuck my leg in the door” trying to leave.

“It went on for what felt like hours,” she added.

The court heard how police photos showed her with bruises on her arms, elbow and shoulder following the incident.

Defense agent Tommy Allan, however, suggested she “gave it all she had”, pointing to the injuries Gilhespy also suffered.

The ex-partner said she only acted to fight him.

Mr Allan said that while Gilhespy accepted that he would not leave the court with a “resounding endorsement of his character”, he denied physically assaulting his partner.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank, however, said he found the partner’s evidence “credible and reliable” and sufficient to convict Gilhespy.

He adjourned the case until June 8 for criminal justice social work reports to be produced before sentencing.

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