Domestic abuser only let wife eat diced chicken and took bank card

Jennifer and Jonathan Essen

Jennifer feared she would die at the hands of Jonathan Mealing (Image: MEN Media)

A woman who was mentally and physically abused by her partner has admitted she thought she would end up “six feet under” if she didn’t escape the relationship.

Jennifer, from Bedfordshire, was abused by her ex-husband Jonathan Mealing for three years.

Mealing, 52, was found guilty of 17 offenses – including multiple counts of rape, sexual assault and coercion – against three women and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Jennifer, who was 36 at the time, met Mealing through the Plenty of Fish dating app in 2016 and was surprised to get a message from him.

The couple would travel to see each other on the weekends before Mealing told her he’d secured her a new job with more money – but he was based in Manchester.

Although Jennifer was worried about leaving her daughter, she decided to join her partner about 160 miles away and it wasn’t long before his controlling behavior started.

He constantly checked her phone, took her bank card, and began limiting her contact with family and friends — including her daughter — only allowing them a 10-minute speakerphone conversation twice a week.

His controlling behavior extended to her diet, seeing her only allow four cubes of chicken with two spoonfuls of rice at meals and only water to drink, resulting in her reducing four dress sizes to six or eight.

Convicted rapist Jonathan Mealing

Mealing was jailed for 30 years and placed on the sex offender registry for life (Picture: MEN Media)

Jennifer said: “He dished it up because I needed to lose weight.

“He bought me gym equipment to use and put it in the garden so he could watch me from the bedroom as he didn’t want to be with a ‘fat lump’.

“I wasn’t good enough, I was ugly. I started to believe that I was worthless and that I had nothing for me.’

During their three-year relationship, Mealing repeatedly raped Jennifer and on one occasion told her to shut up because it was her “duty.”

When he didn’t get his way, he became violent. Jennifer recalled trying to leave him three times, but he always found a way to “get back into her head” by promising changes.

Jennifer, domestic violence survivor

Jennifer was subjected to mental and physical abuse throughout the relationship (Picture: MEN Media)

When Jennifer suffered a miscarriage, Mealing was quick to blame her for the loss of her child.

She soon became pregnant again and endured a difficult birth that required surgery – after which Mealing raped her again.

The attack marked the last straw for Jennifer, and she took her young son and returned to her family in Bedfordshire.

Jennifer has revealed she tried to enact Clare’s law – which allows people to request information from the police about a partner’s history of abusive behavior – but has waited a staggering 36 weeks for a response.

Jennifer has since managed to get her life back and has a new partner and job at Stepping Stones, a domestic violence charity.

She said: “I’m lucky I got out otherwise I would have gone under two metres. He would have killed me. I lost all confidence and self-esteem.

“He’s gone from being a prince charming to being the most evil monster of all time. I hate him. I had rose-tinted glasses then, I couldn’t see the bad.’

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Justin Scacco

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