Wife of retired senior police officer from Raunds fled abusive marriage in the night with 'two carrier bags'

'I was living with a man who once upheld the law, but then broke the law behind closed doors'

Friday, 24th September 2021, 3:49 pm
Updated Friday, 24th September 2021, 3:50 pm
David Quarmby appeared before Northampton Crown Court

A woman who was left her abusive eight-year marriage in the middle of the night with just two carrier bags has told a court how she has been left suicidal by what happened to her.

The wife of 'well respected' senior police officer David Quarmby gave a moving written victim personal statement in court this afternoon (Friday, September 24) as her husband was sentenced for coercive control and common assault.

The 57-year-old was found guilty of the two offences following a trial. The jury had earlier acquitted him of a number of other offences that were said to have taken place during their eight-year marriage.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Quarmby, of Shelmerdine Rise, Raunds, had been a police officer across the Midlands for 31 years before his retirement and the couple had gone on to split their time between homes in Spain and Northamptonshire, living a 'privileged' lifestyle.

But behind closed-doors, the court was told how Quarmby had been abusive to his wife, an NHS worker who thought she had found the man she was going to spend the rest of her life with.

Her victim personal statement, read by prosecutor Abigail Joyce, described the night in early 2020 that she left her marriage. She said: "I'd sat up all night after yet another abusive outburst from my husband.

"As David slept I made my escape. He'd mentally and physically abused me for eight years.

"I walked away from my beautiful home and a privileged and comfortable lifestyle."

The victim said she was left, while recovering from a hip operation, with no money, no job and no home.

"I left with just two carrier bags of clothes," she said.

"I was free, except I'm not free. I'm constantly reliving the abuse."

She said that she had been left unable to relax and 'constantly on edge.'

After she had moved out, Quarmby also told her two sons they must also leave and, when they returned to collect their belongings some weeks later, he reported them to the police for stealing £40 and some headphones. They spent 12 hours in police custody and were later told the charges against them had been dropped.

"They were made to move out of their home," she said. "They had nowhere to live but David didn't care. He was in charge.

"I've slowly been getting my life back together but it's been very hard. Every day is like climbing a mountain."

She said that she had been depressed, had suffered panic attacks and had had some 'dark days' where she had contemplated suicide.

"I lie awake at night thinking about the trauma I have experienced. I worry about the future.

"I was living with a man who once upheld the law, but then broke the law behind closed doors."

The allegations that the entire marriage had been abusive were denied by the defendant and a jury acquitted him of that charge, instead finding him guilty of coercive control related to a set of texts sent at the end of their marriage. He was also found guilty of common assault relating to an incident where he had awoken the victim by hitting her in the chest.

His Honour Deputy District Judge Michael Fowler said that it would be difficult for the court to decide how much of the victim's trauma was caused by her abusive relationship and how much was caused by the death of her father at around the same time, and that he had to sentence Quarmby only for the offences that he had been found guilty of by the jury.

"It's impossible to disentangle the two and do justice to both sides," he said.

Mitigating, Charles Durrant, said Quarmby had spent his 31-year police career 'protecting us all' from threats.

"The court heard from his colleagues on the type of activity that no doubt David Quarmby has dedicated his life to preventing," he said.

The court was told Quarmby had written a letter to the judge following his conviction.

"He accepts in his letter to the court," said Mr Durrant, "that really having heard the jury's verdict and having a month or so to really pause and reflect that his behaviour, certainly in so far as as the way he communicated with his wife at the tail end of their ostensibly happy marriage, was shameful.

"The trial process.. has been a humbling experience."

Sentencing Quarmby, Judge Michael Fowler said: "The sentence relates only to the controlling behaviour during the period covered by the texts before the jury and the common assault that they found to have occurred in bed.

"Until you wrote your letter, for the period from your arrest, you have not taken a realistic view of your behaviour.

"It's clear from your conduct during the trial that you are a man who can control himself and history means you were in an environment where you were required to control yourself and to have authority over others in a non-abusive and appropriate way."

He said that it was clear that the language used during texts he sent to his wife was 'abusive, controlling' and 'would have had a serious effect on the victim'.

"It's behaviour that, as I have already observed, you could have expected to realise it was going to have a serious effect."

He added that the assault, where Quarmby woke his wife by striking her in the chest more than once, was 'beyond what any partner should expect.'

Quarmby was given a 30 month community order. He must undertake the Building Better Relationships programme and a 10-hour rehabilitation activity. He was also ordered to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £1,750 in costs.

A restraining order was also made banning the defendant from contacting his victim.