‘Dog Basket’ Woman Tells Of Abuse

A woman who was violently abused and forced by her former partner to lie down in a dog basket has said she hopes her ordeal will help other women.

Paul Lidford, 31, from Denbigh, was jailed for two years and five months for his attacks on Caroline Morris, 27.

He was also handed an indefinite anti-social behaviour order (Asbo), stopping him from approaching her.

Miss Morris said she was able to give evidence against him thanks to the help she received from several agencies.

Research shows that domestic abuse affects one in four women during their lifetime, according to Welsh Women’s Aid, a national organisation representing local groups.

Praising the support of police and a variety of organisations, Miss Morris said she hoped more women would now have the confidence to come forward.

Speaking for the first time since Lidford was jailed, she called the investigation process “a lengthy and painful ordeal”.

Miss Morris added: The love and support of family and friends has helped me through this difficult time.

“I have also had tremendous support from my local community, which at times has been overwhelming.

“North Wales Police are using a new system where local agencies come together and help the victim break away from the terrible cycle that domestic violence can become.

“Victims feel scared and alone and often feel that worthless that there is no way out for them.

“I was offered support from the police, Women’s Aid, witness protection and from local housing agencies.

“They gave me all the help and support I needed to finally break away from the cycle I had been trapped in for over five years.”

Miss Morris, a residential child care officer, said she had previously made complaints, but had never had the courage to give evidence.

She added: “Victims now get offered so much help it is fantastic.

“I had support every day and I had a domestic violence officer come to court with me.”

Lidford was jailed at Mold Crown Court last Friday after being convicted of four specimen assault charges at a trial in February.

During the trial, it emerged that over the course of their five-year relationship he had subjected Miss Morris to abuse.

On about five occasions Lidford, a heating engineer, had forced her to lie in a dog’s bed, and threatened that if she looked from under the blanket she would be assaulted.

Once, Lidford had kicked her repeatedly after she looked out from under the blanket, the court heard.

She suffered swelling and bruising across her back and could not move, but Lidford had refused to call an ambulance.

She wept as she told the jury that she had reported matters to the police in the past, including an incident when Lidford whipped her with a dog lead.

But she had always withdrawn the allegations, believing that he loved her and would change.

The Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline, 0808 80 10 800, is a free and confidential service for women, children and men who are experiencing, or who have experienced abuse at the hands of someone close to them.