A THUG who assaulted his former partner and forced a young child's mouth shut with gaffer tape after she woke up crying has been jailed.

William Stephen Stokes, from Rainhill, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Monday, November 20, where he was sentenced.

The 37-year-old had earlier pleaded guilty to assault by beating, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, intentional suffocation, possession of Class B drugs and possession of a prohibited weapon.

Stokes became involved in a relationship in 2022 and initially, everything was going smoothly.

However, as the relationship developed, Stokes became increasingly more aggressive, violent, and controlling.

His aggression manifested into violence towards his partner, with one occasion resulting in him throwing her across the room.

Stokes would also direct his anger towards young children.

During a car journey in March 2023, Stokes spotted one of the children with their feet up on the seat – he became angry and grabbed at the child’s seatbelt, pulling it so tightly that the child was left with an injury to her hip.

Similarly, in April 2023, one of the children woke up crying, enraging Stokes, who in turn held the child down and taped her mouth shut with gaffer tape.

Police said the victim sought the courage to end the relationship and reported Stokes to them on Saturday, April 1, 2023.

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Following his arrest, Stokes was given bail conditions not to contact the victim, but his obsessive behaviour continued.

On Thursday, April 13, the victim was collecting her children from school when she saw Stokes walking nearby. The children became distressed and started crying asking to be taken home immediately.

Stokes had his friends threaten the victim and her family members - he was also seen to be driving through the victim’s estate.

Officers attended Stokes’ home address on May 8 and rearrested him. He was subsequently charged with assault by beating, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, intentional suffocation, stalking, possession of Class B drugs and possession of a prohibited weapon.

He sentenced to three and a half years in prison at the hearing on Monday.

St Helens Star: Stokes was jailed at Chester Crown CourtStokes was jailed at Chester Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

Following his sentencing, Detective Constable Lauren Henthorn said:

“This was an extremely traumatising experience for the victim in this case and I hope that Stokes’ sentence, along with his 10-year restraining order, will provide her with some reassurance. 

“Domestic abuse is not acceptable and will not be tolerated, and we want to send out a clear message that nobody should have so have to suffer in silence.

 “If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or if you know someone who is a victim, please get in touch.

“We treat all reports of domestic abuse extremely seriously and will use all the powers available to us to ensure that those responsible are held accountable."

To report any incidents of domestic abuse contact Cheshire police on 101, or report online (https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/ ), in an emergency call 999.

Further help and support is also available online at www.openthedoorcheshire.org.uk.

DC Lauren Henthorn added: “Help is also available through the National Domestic Violence Helpline, on 0808 2000 247. 

“In addition, if you have concerns about your current or ex-partner, because you're worried, they may have a history of abuse and are a risk to you, then you can submit a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) application.

“The scheme, also known as Clare’s law, enables the police to release information about any previous history of violence or abuse that a person might have.”

To find out more about Clare’s law, or to submit a DVDS application, visit the Cheshire police website (https://www.cheshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/daa/domestic-abuse/alpha/request-information-under-clares-law/).