A yoga teacher has told how her cheating fiance used violence to stop her breaking up with him before threatening her with a meat cleaver – which he kept under his PILLOW.
Sophie Eyers, 28, was left isolated and terrified after her partner Samuel James, 28, refused to let her leave the house to see family and friends.
Things came to a head when he suspected she had found out about his philandering and threw a radiator at her before threatening her with the lethal blade.
She was only saved when police, who had been tipped off by a neighbour, burst in to rescue her during one of his attacks.
James pleaded guilty to coercive and controlling behaviour and assault at Cambridge Crown Court and is now serving a 34 month prison sentence.
Sophie – who has been forced to give up teaching yoga because of her ordeal – said: ”There was a constant threatening undertone from him 24 hours a day.
”To say I walked on egg shells is a massive understatement.
”He threatened to kill me most days and I was so scared that I could barely sleep.
”There were so many violent incidents that I can barely recall them all now.
”If I tried to leave the house without his permission he’d attack me, once he dragged me back in the house by my hair and beat me up.
”But afterwards he’d be so sorry and would gather me up in his arms and tell me he loved me.
”It messed with my head and I wasn’t strong enough to leave.
”I was so thankful when the police finally came to rescue me, I think one of the neighbours called the police and they burst in just as he was holding the meat cleaver to my throat.
”I know for a fact I’d be dead now had they not intervened.”
Sophie, of St Ives, Cambridgeshire, first met James through friends in March 2018 and romance quickly blossomed.
He even moved himself into her house and after eight months proposed, in November 2018.
But his behaviour quickly deteriorated and he became volatile and controlling.
She said: ”Even when I was trying to do something nice, like booking a weekend away, he could just flip out for no reason.
”He’d accuse me of wasting money.
”But afterwards he’d pretend nothing had happened – it made me feel like I was going mad.
”That’s how he broke me down.
”I was even scared of him before we got engaged, but I knew that if I said ‘no’ he’d flip out so I just pretended to be happy about it all.
”I was in love with him but I knew things weren’t right, I just didn’t know how to break free.
”I felt helpless.”
James repeatedly threatened his partner, including saying he would lock her in the boot of his car and that he would “smash her teeth in”.
In another assault he threatened Sophie with a knife after he pulled up in his car as she was leaving the gym.
She refused to get in the vehicle, but when James produced the knife she went with him.
James then admitted having sex with other women but blamed this on Sophie.
It was this incident that eventually led to his arrest, on 2nd February 2019.
She said: ”I’d had no idea he was cheating on me but he was always asking odd questions and seemed obsessed with finding out if I knew about the other women.
”I denied knowing anything, but he looked livid and just didn’t believe me.
”He took me upstairs to our bedroom – he was raging.
”He kicked a radiator off the wall it fell on my legs.
”While I was down he went over to the bed and under the pillow where he kept his meat cleaver and said ‘you’re going to cause a murder scene’.
”At that point I really thought I’d had it, he was going to kill me.
”His eyes were not human.
”But just as he was leaning over me with the knife to my throat, the police burst in the door.
”One of the neighbours called them – they basically caught him red-handed.
”He was dragged away by the officers and one female officer stayed with me, I was in shock and I could barely speak to her.
”I decided in that moment that I couldn’t lie for him or cover up his mistakes anymore.
”I showed the officer with my eyes where my phone was and they look it away as evidence.
”I felt that it was now or never and I think the decision I made then, to come clean about it all, saved my life.
”I was placed in a women’s refuge after I’d given my statement but I hated it so I moved back home.
”Thankfully he eventually pleaded guilty, I was terrified I’d have to give evidence in court.
”After the case I had a bit of a breakdown and felt very very low but I’ve progressed now and I’m rebuilding my life.
”I’ve started yoga again and I hope to be teaching again soon, getting back into it has really helped.
”I’ve got PTSD and really bad anxiety, but I suppose that’s to be expected after the way I was living and what he put me through.”
James pleaded guilty to one charge of coercive and controlling behaviour, three charges of assault by beating and one charge of common assault at Cambridge Crown Court In July 2019.
He was sentenced on the same day to 34 months in prison.
James was also handed a restraining order for 10 years, with conditions not to contact Sophie or four others. The order prevents him from visiting St Ives and other areas.
Sophie said: ”I know I’d be dead now if the police hadn’t found me that day.
”I wasn’t able to break free from his spell, despite how scared I was and how much I wanted to escape.
”I want other women to know that there is a way out, that you can talk to people and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
”It’s hard to breakaway from a controlling or violent relationship but it’s worth it.”