Napier man jailed after assaulting partner, sending hundreds of abusive texts - NZ Herald

2022-07-20 21:57:43 By : Ms. Smart Kang

Matthew Stephen Cox. Photo / NZME

Open Justice multimedia journalist, Hawke's Bay

"Just stay away. Don't go near this man."

That is the advice of a domestic violence survivor to other women after her abuser, described as controlling and narcissistic, was sent to jail this week.

During several hearings over the last six months, the Napier District Court has been told that Matthew Stephen Cox, 43, sent a stream of abusive text messages over two weeks - including 350 in one night - to his then partner as their relationship was breaking up.

He also sent pornographic images to the woman's son and one of her friends, telling them they were of his victim.

Earlier, while they were living in a Napier motel, Cox assaulted the woman and sought to control every aspect of her life. She was not even allowed to go to the toilet with the door closed.

When she tried to leave him, he confronted her outside a Napier superette. As the woman locked herself in her car, Cox yelled abuse, holding up his fist and repeatedly saying "Do I have to strangle you?"

In the seven months they were together, police attended 13 family violence call-outs involving the couple.

Cox has now been sentenced to 10 months in prison after appearing before Judge Gordon Matenga in the Napier court on Tuesday.

He had earlier admitted a representative charge of misusing a telecommunications device, in relation to the texts, in which Cox accused the woman of infidelity and demanded to inspect her intimately to make sure that she hadn't.

He was found guilty after a judge-alone trial on two charges of assault and one of intimidation.

Judge Matenga said after the trial that Cox was a "controlling man" who sought to manage all aspects of his victim's life while they were living at the motel.

"She was forced to remain indoors. She was not allowed to smoke outside. Mr Cox insisted that she remain within his sight, even while she was going to the toilet," the judge said.

Cox's victim, who asked to be called Linny, told Open Justice this week that she was happy that Cox had received a term of imprisonment, but she wished it had been longer and noted that he would be released after five months.

"Whether it is effective in allowing him to be a nice human being, I don't think so," Linny said.

"He is never going to change. He is an angry, angry man."

Cox's offending against Linny took place in March and April 2021. She said the court process had "dragged on" for much longer than they were together as a couple. The abuse and the subsequent court case had had quite an impact on her life for the past two years.

"My life went on hold," Linny said.

"I was in good employment with a nice flat when I first met him. He turned nasty and wrote a really nasty email to my landlord/employer, which caused me to lose that position and the house," she said.

She had to remain living in the North Island while waiting to appear as a witness at the trial. She then sought a fresh start in the South Island, but Cox went there too, in breach of his bail conditions.

Cox appeared in the Nelson District Court last month, where his lawyer said he had left Napier because it had become "toxic" for him and he ended up in Nelson, the same city as his victim, by chance.

Judge Richard Russell said he was not convinced by that, and sent Cox back to Napier for sentencing.

Linny said the bail breach was an example of Cox "wanting to do as he pleases" and he had shown no regard for what the courts had told him.

"I was most uncomfortable to hear that he had come down to Nelson... I just was, 'Oh my gosh'."

She said she had been told that Cox had turned up at the Napier courthouse demanding that his 24-hour bail curfew be lifted and becoming aggressive towards the staff.

He spent the last days before sentencing in custody because of the bail breaches.

"There is no remorse and no responsibility," she said, calling Cox manipulative and narcissistic.

Asked what advice she would have for other women, Linny said: "Just stay away. Do not go near this man."

Linny said she was now "not even thinking" about entering another relationship.

"He really, really scared me off."