A husband charged with domestic violence after asking his wife to dress “more like a woman” was cleared of wrongdoing after arguing that he only called her because of her unkempt clothes.
Paul Marsden, 55, was charged with controlling and coercive behavior after berating 17-year-old spouse Lesley for wearing dingy leggings, jeans and t-shirts.
During their stormy marriage, Marsden told his wife she had fat legs and asked her to wear skirts and be more proud of her looks.
The wheelchair-bound Marsden, suffering from osteoporosis and arthritis, faced up to five years’ imprisonment if convicted but was found not guilty in Manchester Magistrates Court.
Paul Marsden (pictured), 55, was charged with controlling and coercive behavior after berating 17-year-old spouse Lesley for wearing dingy leggings, jeans and t-shirts
Ms. Marsden has now moved in with her best friend and has not spoken to her husband since June 2020.
The court heard that the couple from Rochdale, Manchester, were married in 2004, had two children and lived with Marsden’s parents Paul snr and Elaine.
But Ms. Marsden, also in her fifties, claimed the marriage deteriorated in 2016 after he refused to contact her two children from a previous relationship.
She said, “I had a good relationship with them, but they didn’t get along well with Paul. My eldest daughter always argued with him and my son only stayed now and then.
“I asked him if I could see my kids on the weekend but he said no and he checked the phone to see who I was talking to.”
Ms. Marsden said her husband would accuse her of cheating on him, calling her an incompetent mother, and accusing her of staying in bed forever. She said: ‘I felt terrible and scared. ‘
She said she cooked for her husband, his parents and their two children, but if he didn’t like it he would throw the food in the trash can.
And whenever she went to the stores, she had to kiss him, the court heard.
“He would say,” don’t you kiss me, “and he would say it nastily. I would never have cheated on him,” she said.
“I used to wear jeans, a t-shirt and a sweater, but he said,” You need to start dressing more like a woman. “He wanted me to wear skirts, but I didn’t like wearing them. I didn’t want to get dressed or go out. I was just ashamed. ‘
She said her teeth were corroding so she had dentures and her husband would force her to wear them. “I couldn’t eat with my original denture,” she added. ‘They were always sore. He picked up my new ones and threatened to put them in my mouth. I cooked what he wanted and what he didn’t want, he threw it away. ‘
And she accused her husband of not giving her enough money. “He made my money tight, he gave me £ 30 every two weeks and kept the rest of his money in his pocket to buy beer and pay his mother and father for food,” she said. “I just wanted to open my own bank account.”
Marsden’s mother, Elaine, said she was “embarrassed” the way her daughter-in-law dressed. In the picture the Manchester Magistrates’ Court
Prosecutor Helena Williams told the court that Marsden would not let his wife out and that Marsden would have ultimate control over her life.
Ms. Williams said, “Paul controlled where she went and what she did. He would say “You don’t go out, you have to take care of me”.
She once went to the local store with Paul’s son and when Paul found out he accused her of having an affair. He would say, “You don’t love me” if she didn’t kiss him. ‘
But Marsden denied the allegations, telling the hearing that his wife either lied or exaggerated her experience.
He said, “Her clothes had holes in them and she only wore leggings. I was sarcastic when I said she should dress more like a woman and I was sarcastic when I told Lesley that her legs look fat.
“Her teeth were rotten in her gums and I wanted her to get dentures for her own hygiene. I’ve never said that I don’t want people to think my wife doesn’t care about her teeth. ‘
“The money just got into my bank, but I didn’t know the PIN number and just let them do everything. I have never restricted their access to the bank account. She got money from me every day. ‘
His mother, Elaine Marsden, said she was “embarrassed” by the way her daughter-in-law dressed.
She added, “She always had holes in her leggings, it was like she didn’t care. Paul asked her to wear decent jeans or a skirt because he wanted her to be proud of herself. She didn’t look very good with holes in her clothes and she would even wear his clothes. ‘
She said her son gave his wife his card so she could get money from the bank every two weeks. “I heard him say” How much do you want? “and that was enough for what she wanted. ‘
The chairman of the bank, Dr. Ahsan Saleem, released Marsden, said, “There was evidence of compulsive behavior but insignificant evidence that there was fear of violence in daily activities with Ms. Marsden.
“Therefore, we cannot be sure whether you are engaging in controlling or abusive behavior.
“There have been no attempts to contact Ms. Marsden since June and, given the length of time since the last contact, we do not consider it necessary to issue an injunction.”