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Abuser who hospitalised girlfriend after she refused to unlock her phone and banned her from social

JEALOUS: Joshua Berenger carried out daily checks on Elle Griffin's phone (Essex Police)

A DOMESTIC abuser who put his girlfriend in hospital when she refused to unlock her phone for him has been jailed for four years for controlling, manipulating and attacking her. Insecure Joshua Berenger, 25, of Wheatfield Way, Chelmsford, Essex, had forced Elle Griffin, 20, off social media, banned her from using toilets in restaurants, because he believed she would get attention, and told her what to wear.

Berenger, whose Linkedin profile says he was a commercial lending broker at Chelmsford finance firm Think Business Finance, met Elle, who was 18 at the time, in July 2017 and they started a relationship within a matter of weeks. Between August 2017 until April 2018, he also checked her phone daily and he controlled who she spoke to.

Jealous Berenger had access to Elle’s phone and restored her deleted images before questioning her about them.

PROFILE: Berenger went for TOWIE look on Linkedin, but the corporate imaged belied his actions (Linkedin)

Elle, from Colchester, was also told she could not wear jeans, crop tops, skirts, dresses and even make up. Berenger persistently interrorgated her about former boyfriends and male friends. On April 30, 2018, Colchester’s Domestic Abuse Investigations Team (DAIT) were called after Berenger kicked her in the rips and head after she refused to unlock her phone.

He was arrested at around 2.10pm.

At Ipswich Crown Court he received three years for coercive and controlling behaviour and 12 months for actual bodily harm, to run consecutively.

Investigating officer PC Amber Martin-Brett, formerly of Colchester’s DAIT, said: “Berenger used his controlling and coercive behaviour to control Elle in every aspect of her life. “He checked her phone, told her what to wear, made her come of social media and controlled who she spoke to. “Berenger was violent and threatening and we began our investigation upon Elle’s report to police.

JAILED: Another image of Berenger from Facebook

“Elle has shown an enormous amount of bravery, not just by reporting the crime but through assisting us in our investigation and Berenger’s court case. She has today bravely spoke of her experiences. “Berenger has been given a lengthy custodial sentence and I’d urge anyone suffering the same abuse to come forward and report it to us.” Following sentence, Elle said: “I was in a relationship with Joshua for almost 10 months and from a very early stage I was being controlled, manipulated, threatened and attacked every day. “I kept the abuse to myself and it took Joshua putting me into hospital for me to call police and tell them. He was the scariest person imaginable and I believed there was no way out. “I realised once I got help from police, family and friends, that I wasn’t alone. No matter how scary someone may seem to you, there is always a way out and they will get what they deserve in the end. “Joshua is now in prison and I am living the life he took away from me. Speaking to someone is the first step to everything getting better.”

Friends praised her bravery on Facebook after she today posted a link to an Essex Police news bulletin about the case.

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