Man told girlfriend she would be gang raped before threatening to end life

A man sickeningly told his girlfriend he would order men to rape her before threatening to "dig up her grandma's grave and put her in it".

Lucas Roberts, now 23, controlled every aspect of his partner's life for three years, and even complained that she visited her mother with cancer too much.

Manchester Crown Court heard how Roberts gifted his partner an iPhone to track her movements.

They formed a relationship after becoming friends on Facebook, when Robert was 16 and the girl was 15.

The girl was given a job as a nursery nurse and was soon met with demands by Roberts, who told her to call him on her breaks.

He then got a job at the same nursery, working there for about a month-and-a-half, reports Manchester Evening News.

Prosecutor Brian Berlyne said Roberts would complain that the girl would be "away for too long" when she visited her mum with cancer.

On returning home on one occasion Roberts slapped her. She told how she deeply regrets that period.

"I feel ashamed of myself that I could watch my mum go through chemotherapy and lose her hair and still not be there for her," the victim said.

"I will never forgive myself for that. Lucas was so heartless about it."

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She split with Roberts after going to a festival in the summer of 2019, where she met another man.

When she returned home, she told Roberts about what had happened. He went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife and said he "wanted to die".

She managed to get the knife off him and later decided to call the police before the relationship ended.

However, in the weeks after, Roberts began to harass his ex and her new partner, issuing threats and on one occasion turning up outside her house.

The court heard how he posted a "highly intimate" video of the victim on Snapchat as a form of "revenge" after their split.

Defending, Alistair Reid said Roberts didn't realise the hurt he was causing her but accepts that he should have.

Roberts narrowly avoided jail after he admitted to displaying controlling and coercive behaviour.

He also admitted offences of putting a person in fear of violence by harassment, and disclosing private sexual images with the intent to cause distress, Mr Reid said.

Judge Timothy Smith said he felt able to avoid sending Roberts to jail, due to his "immaturity" at the time.

Roberts, of Collett Crescent, Blackpool, was sentenced to 20 months in prison, suspended for two years.

He was ordered to complete the Building Better Relationships course, undertake 200 hours of unpaid work and pay his former partner £1,500 in compensation.

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