Coercive control UK: Husband who told his wife of 17 years to dress 'more like ...

A husband who was accused of domestic abuse after he asked his wife to dress 'more like a woman' has been cleared of wrongdoing after arguing he was only calling her out over her scruffy clothing.

Paul Marsden, 55, was charged with controlling and coercive behaviour after he berated spouse of 17 years Lesley for wearing tatty leggings, jeans and T shirts.

During their stormy marriage Marsden told his wife she had fat legs and asked her to wear skirts and take more pride in her appearance. 

Wheelchair-bound Marsden, who suffers from osteoporosis and arthritis, faced up to five years jail if convicted but was found not guilty at Manchester Magistrates Court.

Paul Marsden (pictured), 55, was charged with controlling and coercive behaviour after he berated spouse of 17 years Lesley for wearing tatty leggings, jeans and T shirts

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Paul Marsden (pictured), 55, was charged with controlling and coercive behaviour after he berated spouse of 17 years Lesley for wearing tatty leggings, jeans and T shirts

Mrs Marsden has now moved in with her best friend and has not spoken to her husband since June 2020.

The court heard the couple, from Rochdale, Manchester, married in 2004, had two children together and lived with Marsden's parents Paul snr and Elaine. 

But Mrs Marsden, also in her 50s, claimed the marriage began to deteriorate in 2016 after he refused to let her have contact with her two children from a previous relationship.

She said: 'I had a good relationship with them but they did not get on well with Paul. My eldest daughter was always arguing with him and my son only stayed every so often. 

'I asked him if I could see my children at the weekend, but he would say no and he used to check the phone to see who I had been speaking to.'

Mrs Marsden said her husband would accuse her of cheating on him, call her an unfit mother and accuse her of always staying in bed. She said: 'It made me feel horrible and scared.'

She said she used to cook for her husband, his parents and their two children but if he did not like it he would throw the food in the bin.

And whenever she went out to the shops she had to give him a kiss, the court heard. 

'He would say, "are you not giving me a kiss" and he would say it in a nasty way. I would never have cheated on him,' she said.

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'I used to wear jeans a T-Shirt and a jumper but he would say "you need to start dressing more like a woman". He wanted me to wear skirts, but I did not like wearing them. I did not want to get dressed or go out. I

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