HOW I TRAPPED EVIL BRUTE WHO SAID HE’D CUT OFF MY HEAD
This terrified girlfriend made a secret recording of her boyfriend’s violent outburst - and now he’s behind bars
ACOURAGEOUS domestic abuse survivor has shared a harrowing clip of her violent boyfriend threatening to behead her and bury her body in a garden.
The distressing 36-minute audio recording, in which brutal William Morton can be heard to spit at and slap Jodie Tague, was vital evidence in securing a conviction following months of abuse.
The 30-year-old golf club worker can be heard threatening to “rip [her] throat out” before chillingly adding: “You could bleed to death Jo.”
Morton became one of the first people in Wales ever to be convicted of controlling or coercive behaviour after business owner Jodie bravely went to the police to report him.
The new law was introduced in 2015 and involves a person repeatedly behaving in a way making someone they are closely connected with feel controlled, dependent, isolated or scared.
It can be hard to achieve convictions because it often happens behind closed doors.
Fearing for her life Jodie, also 30, secretly built up evidence of the abuse which eventually led to Morton receiving a jail term.
She has spoken out to let other people in her position know there is a way out. She also wants people in authority to know the warning signs and be able to spot them and help women in need.
Jodie, who has run her own gift shop for almost a decade, first met Morton in March last year several months after the pair began chatting through Tinder.
Having taken part in a workshop to spot abuse at domestic violence charity Atal y Fro, Jodie spotted the warning signs.
She said: “He would drink more or less every night.
“He was controlling with my friends, especially the male ones – he would not like me talking to them. He would message me asking why I was talking to someone – it might just be a text from a delivery driver.
“I had to stop talking to certain people.
“When that happened I stood my ground at the start. I would say that they were my friends and ‘I wouldn’t be with you if I wanted to be with someone else.’
“There was nothing going on but in his head.
“I don’t know how he thought I had the time because I was working 24/7.”
At one point Jodie, of Barry, used her phone to secretly record abuse taking place.
“I had gone out for my friend’s birthday – it was a family meal type of thing. I had only had two Diet Cokes – it wasn’t a big party.
“I came back and he had obviously been drinking. I could tell he was agitated straight away. He was on edge.
“I said I was going to go out and let him calm down. He had me up against the wall in the hallway by the throat. And I managed to get out and take my dog because I didn’t want to leave it with him.
“He texted me saying that he had calmed down now so I went back.”
Jodie did not feel like she could go to the police because it would have been her word against his. Despite returning to the house in Barry she wanted to protect herself.
She said: “I left the dog in the car because I knew what it could be like. I could see the signs but I couldn’t just stay out all night.
“I had to go back at some point, I didn’t want to go to the police because I would have had nothing to show.
“Before I went back in I put my phone in my pocket and put it on the voice recorder. I thought that if he had calmed down like he said I could just turn it off, get the dog in and go to bed.
“I wouldn’t say anything because it was going to trigger him to kick off.
“But he hadn’t calmed down. I had it in my pocket. You wouldn’t know it was there – you can have the screen locked.”
What followed was a truly horrific 36 minutes where Morton can be heard forcing her to sit in a chair in the living room. He spat on her as well as repeatedly hitting her.
“I just couldn’t move,” she said. “I kept telling him to stop hitting me.
“He was getting upset at himself and was crying but he just carried on.
“I told him to stop because I was bleeding from the mouth. He just said ‘I am going to make you bleed more’ and ‘I am going to bury you’.”
The recording, and Jodie’s courage in obtaining it, proved decisive when the case came to court.
“He was good at putting on a face to everyone else,” she said.
“You listen to that and he was different to how others would see him.
“To hear it is totally different. I could say that he said he was going to chop my head off and bury me but to hear someone say that is very scary.
“In my head I was thinking that I have that recording and if someone finds my phone they will know what happened to me.
“I don’t know why it popped into my head to do it. I knew I had to protect myself. It was my witness. If I didn’t make it out alive I had something.”
During the horrifying recording Jodie can be heard pleading with heartless Morton: “Stop hitting me.”
He replied: “Hit you. I will f****** hit you. I will f****** hit you in your f****** head.
“I will f****** bury you – is that what you want?
“I am the f****** victim. I am the f****** victim here.”
He added: “As far as I am concerned I could f****** rip your throat out. You could bleed to death Jo.
“It is your f****** fault – you don’t know how you make me feel.”
Through tears Jodie told her then boyfriend to stop slapping her, adding: “You can’t treat me like this.”
But vindictive Morton, who worked at Llanishen Golf Club, told her: “I’m going to bury you tonight – in the f****** garden, I’m burying you.”
The recording picks up an audible slap and a scream before Morton continues: “Look at my eyes. I’ll f****** bury you.
“I’ll f****** cut your throat and I’ll f****** cut your head off and I’ll put you in that f****** garage.
“You think I’m messing. You shut up and listen to me. This is the only way.”
Other incidents included him chasing her with a knife, grabbing her by the throat in Tesco, kicking her in the back because her dog urinated when scared by fireworks, and dropping her repeatedly on the floor when
she was pregnant with his child.
“The incident with the knife petrified me,” she said.
“We had a disagreement when he was intoxicated and chased me with a kitchen knife.
“I ran upstairs as fast as I could into a box room I call the dressing room.
“I couldn’t lock the door – I was so, so scared.
“I fell to the floor and started shaking and crying. I thought I was going to die – I thought this was how it ends.
“After what seemed like a lifetime he put the knife down laughing before coming over to comfort me.”
Throughout all these ordeals Jodie was keeping records.
She said: “He said that I shouldn’t go to the police and he said that they wouldn’t believe me and do anything about it. He said there wasn’t enough evidence.
“I started taking pictures of bruising and handprints on my arms. I would take photos and save them onto my work phone because I knew he was going through my personal phone. I transferred them over so I had the evidence.”
Late last year Jodie ended the relationship but on finding out she was pregnant decided to give the relationship another chance for the sake of their unborn baby.
She said: “I found out I was pregnant and told him on a Friday night. He just left and didn’t come home until the Sunday night.
“He went out drinking and didn’t come back. That was his reaction to being told he was having a baby.
“After we sat down we spoke and said we had to make it work as we are having a baby.
“I said to him that I couldn’t make this work unless he got help.”
His behaviour did not change and it all came to a head when Jodie went for a pregnancy scan. During the pregnancy she had lost 2.5 stone in weight due to stress.
“I was under a consultant because I was high risk,” she said, revealing she had also been through a cancer scare during her ordeal.
“I broke down and started crying when the consultant came in. I blurted everything out to her. I said I couldn’t put up with it any more.
“She was really helpful. There was no rush – she just was patient. She understood and was really good.
“The midwife saw me after and apparently they had done a training the week before on what to do if a woman comes in like me.
“The midwife said that if I was strong enough that I should go to the police station on my way home. I actually did. I left the hospital and went straight to Barry police station.
“I thought that if I don’t do it now I am not going to.
“I got there at half one and saw the officer.
“I didn’t finish my statement till half eight at night.
“I started playing the recording and I said, ‘I can’t listen to it again.’ He listened when I wasn’t there.
“They told me that if [Morton] turned up at the house I should ring 999.
“I said: ‘I can’t ring 999 – they are for life-or-death situations.’
“He tried to get in that night and I rang them straight away and they were amazing on the phone.
“It came up with my notes that if I ring they have to send someone straight away. The officer that did my statement was the first one there.”
Morton was arrested in March this year.
He admitted a charge of controlling or coercive behaviour at Cardiff Crown Court and a pre-sentence report judged him to present a medium risk of causing harm to the public, especially future partners.
Morton was jailed for nine months and an indefinite restraining order was imposed.
Judge Thomas Crowther QC told him: “It does not seem to me there is any real remorse here – your sole regret is that she reported you.”
Jodie, who went on to give birth to a healthy baby, paid tribute to the police officers who helped bring Morton to justice and offered her advice to women finding themselves in abusive relationships. “The officer that took my statement, I can’t thank him enough,” she said.
“He didn’t rush me. He went through step by step.
“They helped me feel I can go and get the support I need.
“To other women I would say keep as much evidence as you can.
“Print it, hide it, put it on a different phone. You can be believed.
“The recording was the main part of my evidence. Give them to someone you trust.
“Go to the police. They don’t have to act then and there but can keep the evidence for you.”
Appealing directly to others finding themselves in a similar situation, Jodie added: “I am on my own here with family that live in Durham and abroad whilst also going through a tough time with a cancer scare and still ongoing tests.
“Standing up in court a week after having my baby, and running my own business, it’s not been easy but if I can do it and I’m still standing, so can you. “Don’t give in. Be strong.” South Wales Police local policing inspector for Barry, Paul Tinkler, said: “Protecting vulnerable people is South Wales Police’s number one priority and the force has invested in specialist training, in partnership with Welsh Women’s Aid, to ensure our frontline officers and staff are able to identify coercive and controlling behaviour in order to intervene at the earliest opportunity.
“I’d encourage anyone experiencing this form of abuse to come forward with the confidence that we will take their report seriously and that they will receive the very best support from us and partner agencies.
“I’d like to commend the courage of Jodie in not only finding the strength to report her then-partner but for also having the foresight during what would have been a very difficult and frightening time to keep notes of everything she was experiencing.
“There is no doubt these details proved instrumental in helping to convict William Morton.
“I’d also like to praise the work of my officers for the professional and compassionate manner in which they carried out the investigation, which again helped ensure a violent and abusive man was dealt with by the courts in the most effective way.”
Jodie has received support from Atal y Fro, a domestic violence charity.
A spokeswoman for the charity said: “Atal y Fro provides a wide range of specialist services aimed at helping women and their families as well as individuals of any gender (including their partners) where appropriate, to break the silence on domestic violence.
“We have refuge for women and their children, a specialist refuge service for any gender with a ‘wraparound’ package of support programmes.”
Jodie Tague, of Barry, who was the victim in the first ever coercive case in Wales
William Morton, 30, from Barry, admitted controlling or coercive behaviour