Domestic violence victim opens up about abusive relationship during lockdown after ex jailed

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·4-min read
Jennifer Salter was left severely bruised after being attacked on an almost daily basis by ex boyfriend Richard Robson. (SWNS)
Jennifer Salter was left severely bruised after being attacked on an almost daily basis by ex boyfriend Richard Robson. (SWNS)

A woman whose abusive ex-boyfriend brutally beat her and drove her to the brink of suicide has spoken about her ordeal.

Jennifer Salter, 31, was attacked on an almost daily basis by former partner Richard Robson, then 34, who beat her with a belt, stood on her neck and threatened her with a power tool as she lay on the floor frozen with fear.

Salter now suffers from severe anxiety but is determined to speak out about her experiences in the hope of giving strength to others who may be experiencing the same turmoil.

The veterinary receptionist, of Medway in Kent, said it almost felt like love at first sight when the pair began dating in April 2019 and they decided to move in together in March this year.

Robson's abusive behaviour had already surfaced but spiralled when Salter was furloughed from work and isolated from friends and the outside world as England went into lockdown.

Jennifer Salter and ex Richard Robson, who has been jailed for two years. (SWNS)
Jennifer Salter and ex Richard Robson, who has been jailed for two years. (SWNS)
Jennifer Salter shows the level of abuse directed at her by ex boyfriend Richard Robson. (SWNS)
Jennifer Salter shows the level of abuse directed at her by ex boyfriend Richard Robson. (SWNS)

She would fear him returning from work when he would attack her for not wiping the dust from the door frames or cleaning the skirting boards properly.

Left terrified for her life after months of violent abuse, Salter took an overdose in June which she felt was the only way out.

But she eventually mustered the strength to reach out to a friend who encouraged her to discretely pack her bag and escape from Robson's clutches.

Robson, of Larkfield in Kent, was jailed for two years at Maidstone Crown Court.

The army veteran pleaded guilty to coercive and controlling behaviour between November 2019 and July 2020, plus actual bodily harm (ABH) and common assault.

Recalling one incident, Salter said: "One time, we were sitting on the sofa and he wasn't shouting but he began talking at me.

"He hit me and strangled me and I decided to make a run for the front door. I was in my pyjamas and I had nothing on my feet but he fought me before I made it.

"He held me up against the door and strangled me to the point where I could just feel my head about to pass out when he let go.

Jennifer Salter was left terrified for her life after months of violent abuse. (SWNS)
Jennifer Salter was left terrified for her life after months of violent abuse. (SWNS)

"I can't remember if he dragged me to the front room or I crawled, but he then had a power tool that is used to cut through metal.

"He picked up the grinder as I was lying on the floor. He was standing over me and staring at me with these angry eyes as if he was going to use it on me. He did not turn it on but I did not know if at any moment he would.”

In her victim impact statement read to the court, Salter described how their one-and-a-half relationship was "truly amazing" at first when the pair made each other extremely happy.

But as time went on, warning signs about Robson emerged when he belittled her before passing it off as a joke and expected immediate replies to his texts.

Jennifer Salter took an overdose in June which she felt was the only way out. (SWNS)
Jennifer Salter took an overdose in June which she felt was the only way out. (SWNS)

But Salter was so besotted, she ignored any concerns and hoped things would improve when the pair moved in together.

She described living on an emotional rollercoaster where bouts of abuse would leave her craving love from Robson.

She said: "He would flit between being totally evil to being totally loving. I would experience the evil which was totally frightening but then I would be desperate for the loving moments.

"It was a rollercoaster of emotions…

Richard Robson pleaded guilty to coercive and controlling behaviour between November 2019 and July 2020, plus ABH and common assault. (SWNS)
Richard Robson pleaded guilty to coercive and controlling behaviour between November 2019 and July 2020, plus ABH and common assault. (SWNS)

"I just hope that sharing my experience may give someone else some strength to finally escape from what they are going through.”

Robson claimed that during his 10 years serving in the army in Iraq and the Falklands he was left with post-traumatic stress disorder.

He admitted whipping Salter with a belt, strangling her, threatening her with a weapon and also threatening to kill himself.

The veteran is now banned from contacting his ex-girlfriend and her family for five years.

For support and advice about domestic abuse, contact Women’s Aid or Refuge.

Watch: Rape survivor calls for public awareness campaign to make face covering exemptions clearer