NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Shetland man jailed for decades of domestic abuse

Robert Simmons Image copyright Police Scotland

A Shetland man who admitted subjecting his wife to almost 30 years of domestic abuse has been jailed for two years and eight months.

Robert Simmons, 62, of Sandness, admitted 11 different charges dating from 1988 to this year.

The father-of-six's offences included forcing his wife into a car boot and hosing her with cold water.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Philip Mann ordered Simmons to never contact his wife again.

The court heard that the couple had been in a relationship for more than 33 years, and were married for 30 of those.

Lost self-worth

The self-employed crofter subjected his wife to a series of violent assaults.

He regulated how she spent her day - often setting timetables of 15-minute periods - and would make her carry notebooks.

At one stage she fled from the house to be pursued by Simmons, who forced her into the boot of an estate car.

Over the years, she lost her "sense of self-worth", the court was told.

Sheriff Mann told Lerwick Sheriff Court some of the charges on their own would have warranted a custodial sentence. He said the crimes amounted to a sustained campaign of abuse.

The sheriff said the catalogue of offences "degraded and devastated" the victim, and that domestic abuse would not be tolerated.

Image copyright Shetland News Agency

The victim found the courage to first speak out in 2015 when she contacted the the local Women's Aid branch.

The case was described previously by procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie as one of the worst he had ever dealt with.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Simmons acknowledged that he "did wrong" and "sees things differently now".

Det Insp Andy Logan, of Police Scotland, said: "Robert Simmons is a controlling individual who submitted his victim to sustained abuse and suffering over the course of decades.

"The suffering he inflicted is deplorable and I would like to pay tribute to the strength of character shown by his victim in coming forward and ultimately helping to bring Simmons to justice."

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