February 2021

Abuser, 45, raped, beat and threatened ‘terrified’ woman for 23 years

A “violent and aggressive” man who physically and sexually assaulted a woman for more than 20 years has been jailed.

William Adam’s campaign of abuse included raping her, breaking her ribs by stamping on her chest and repeatedly threatening to kill or harm her.

The 45-year-old from Darlington also banged her head on a table after dragging her off a set of ladders, split her lip by slapping her and forced her to give him money over a 23-year period.

Following a two-year police investigation, Adam was convicted of rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, Durham Constabulary said.

In a victim impact statement, the woman, who cannot be named, said: “Adam will always profess his innocence – he truly believes he has done nothing wrong.

“Now I hope he never gets the chance to do this to someone else – not just for me, but for every other woman or man out there who is scared to report their abuser.

“This man has robbed me of memories I will never get back, because I have blocked so much out.”

Adam was also convicted of common assault in relation to another woman following a seven-day trial at Teesside Crown Court.

His 72-year-old mother Mary Ballentine, also of Darlington, was convicted of perverting the course of justice by pressuring one of the women to retract their statement to police.

Adam was sentenced to 10 years in jail while Ballentine received a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.