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 Man jailed after subjecting woman to 23 years of abuse


​“You are not alone – please talk to us, do not suffer in silence.”

That is our message to those who are suffering at the hands of an abuser, after a police investigation led to a man being jailed for ten years for subjecting a woman to years of horrifying abuse.

For more than 20 years, William Adam physically and sexually assaulted the woman.

During one attack he stamped on the woman’s chest, causing her ribs to break, while in another, he dragged her off a set of ladders and banged her head against a table, causing the skin above her eye to burst open.

He also slapped her, causing her lip to split, forced her to give him money and repeatedly threatened to kill or harm her.

A two-year police investigation saw Adam charged with rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The 45-year-old was also charged with a further count of common assault in relation to an attack on another woman.

His mother, 72-year-old Mary Ballentine, was charged with perverting the course of justice after putting pressure on one of the women to retract their statement to police.

The pair denied all charges, but were found guilty following a seven day trial at Teesside Crown Court.

Adam, of Victoria Embankment, Darlington, was jailed for ten years, while Ballentine, of Albatross Way, Darlington, was handed a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said: “Adam will always profess his innocence – he truly believes he has done nothing wrong.

“Now I hope he never gets the chance to do this to someone else – not just for me, but for every other woman or man out there who is scared to report their abuser.

“This man has robbed me of memories I will never get back, because I have blocked so much out.”

Detective Sergeant Steph Field and Investigative Officer Heidi Weir, from Darlington Safeguarding Team, led the investigation.

They said: “This case highlights the devastating effects suffered by victims of abuse and the emotional and long-term side effects it can have on them. The abuse in this investigation has spanned a period of 23 years that went unchallenged by the victim as she was scared and frightened to come forward in fear that nobody would believe her.

“Adam is a violent and aggressive individual who shows no regard towards human life, so we are extremely happy for both of the women in this investigation.

“Their bravery and courage throughout the investigation and court process has been a credit to them both and now they can start to rebuild their lives, enjoying a normal life free of abuse or threats.

“We hope their bravery will inspire other victims to come forward and speak to someone, and to understand that there is help and support out there – you do not have to suffer alone.

“If you are suffering at the hands of an abuser, please come forward and speak to us.

“You can call us on 101, or if you are in immediate danger always call 999.

“If you do not wish to speak directly to police, then please contact the Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 03333 448283.”