A woman has spoken about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her boyfriend of four years because she came home smelling of meat after working in a cafe.
Christopher Ellam, 22, had terrifying control over Bethany Smith, 23, banning her from eating animal products, calling her a ‘fat disgusting bitch’ for smelling of bacon and insisting she showered right away.
She said it was their only source of income as Ellam was out of work, but he still wanted her to quit. She said: ‘In a rage, he grabbed a black and red lace dress I’d bought for my birthday and started destroying it. I pleaded with him not to, but it was no good.
‘Christopher also grabbed two pairs of my shoes and a cardigan and started cutting them up. He was doing his very best to try and isolate me from everyone and when he wasn’t getting his own way, Christopher flipped.
‘He grabbed the glass bottle of vinegar off the side and whacked me around the side of the head with it. He punched and kicked me in a vicious attack.
‘I dropped to the floor and curled up in a ball with a cushion covering my face to try and shield it, but it didn’t stop Christopher pummelling down blows.’
Bethany escaped the abusive relationship and Ellam was taken to Kirklees Magistrates’ Court, Huddersfield, where he was ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service.
Bethany, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, said: ‘I thought Christopher loved me, but he tried to control almost every aspect of my life. I never wanted to be a vegan or even vegetarian, but he made me feel like I had to be.
‘After he attacked me for smelling of bacon – when I’d been helping in my stepdad’s cafe – I knew enough was enough. I’m just relieved he’s out of my life.’
The couple started off as friends and he was a shoulder to cry on when she fell out with a group of people she used to know. They grew closer, but Bethany’s family were not keen on him.
She said that six months into the relationship she noticed he became paranoid and controlling.
She said: ‘When I wasn’t around him he demanded to know where I was and who I was with. He didn’t want me to leave his side and threatened to kill himself so I felt I had no choice but to stay with him all of the time.’
Ellam turned vegan in 2015 and told Bethany: ‘If you’re not going vegan, I’ll break up with you.’
She reluctantly followed the diet.
However, one afternoon they visited friends and Bethany was offered some cheese and onion crisps.
Bethany said: ‘I felt Christopher’s eyes burning into me, but I didn’t realise why until later. He asked me why I’d eaten them – and told me they were cheese flavoured and I shouldn’t have had them as I was supposed to be vegan.
‘I hadn’t even clicked. The crisps weren’t worth the abuse I endured so I vowed not to touch them again.’
His behaviour became increasingly controlling and he ended up in a ‘stonking mood’ after an advert for Magic Mike came on TV featuring a topless Channing Tatum.
Bethany said: ‘I couldn’t do anything without fear of putting a foot wrong. ‘The brutal beating was the final straw. After four years of abuse, I went back to my mum’s house. My face was swollen and bruised and when she asked me what had happened it all came pouring out.
‘I had to undergo hospital tests due to the injuries Christopher inflicted. I had bumps to the back of my head, but was advised that they were haematomas and would go down eventually.
‘Scared and upset, I didn’t know what to do but mum gently encouraged me to report it to the police so he couldn’t hurt anyone else.’