Domestic abuse victim said her 'life had been ruined' by Wigan boyfriend's twisted and controlling behaviour

An abusive boyfriend tried to get his girlfriend beaten up and sent intimate pictures and videos to another woman in another shocking case of domestic abuse in Wigan.
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Paul Hawkins, 44, also assaulted his partner, Natasha Harris, during their tempestuous six-year relationship.

Hawkins, of Walthew Lane, Platt Bridge, walked free from court despite being found guilty after a trial of assault by beating and of sending indecent and obscene material by means of a public communication network.

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Natasha Harris (left) and Paul Hawkins (right)Natasha Harris (left) and Paul Hawkins (right)
Natasha Harris (left) and Paul Hawkins (right)
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Natasha, 32, with whom he has three children, only found out about his previous pattern of offending behaviour after she made a Clare’s Law application to police - this allowed her to be given details of his previous record of domestic violence.

She said Hawkins began to exert his controlling behaviour soon after the couple met in 2017 at the Halfway House pub in Pemberton, where they were both working at the time - she as a barmaid and he as a DJ.

She soon became pregnant and moved into his home with her two children, then aged three and seven, from a previous relationship.

She said: “I worked in a bar and when I was pregnant towards the end he would tell me he didn’t like me working in pubs due to all the male attention I would get and that he worked two jobs so I don’t need to worry.

Natasha Harris (left) and Paul Hawkins (right)Natasha Harris (left) and Paul Hawkins (right)
Natasha Harris (left) and Paul Hawkins (right)
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“After our first baby was born, Paul would take all responsibility for money and I would have to ask for everything I needed and go through him. Due to him having all control of money and me feeling guilty I would continuously ask him please can I work but he would make all sorts of excuses. As time went on the control got worse.

“Wherever I went he went, he had to drop me off and pick me up. He made me believe my family and friends were bad people and not to see them or make it hard to see them.”

By 2022, the couple had had three children together. Natasha said: “The mental abuse got worse and he controlled everything I did. For years I felt trapped and didn’t know how to get out.

“He had full control of finances so I couldn’t pay to find somewhere else to live, but also he made me feel as if I couldn’t cope alone and with five children.”

Natasha Harris, 32Natasha Harris, 32
Natasha Harris, 32
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Hawkins’ methods of getting his way included making Natasha “swear on her daughter’s grave”, a reference to her one-year-old daughter who she lost to cot death in 2011.

The couple’s relationship deteriorated further once Natasha found out about Hawkins’ past record via a Clare’s Law application made to police.

She said: “That night I confronted him and he then got irate and tried to take our boys.

“I rang 999 and police attended and he was arrested but let out on bail. While the police were here they asked a number of questions and it made me realise that day that I was a victim of domestic violence, and because he didn’t hit me did not mean that I wasn’t.

Paul Hawkins, 44, of Platt Bridge, Wigan, was fined and given a two-year restraining order by magistratesPaul Hawkins, 44, of Platt Bridge, Wigan, was fined and given a two-year restraining order by magistrates
Paul Hawkins, 44, of Platt Bridge, Wigan, was fined and given a two-year restraining order by magistrates
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“Mental abuse is something so many people go through but yet don’t realise. While he was on bail he did breach it and we got talking again. He got me to drop all charges due to the fact he said it won’t be fair on the boys and that it would make it easier for us to co-parent.”

The controlling behaviour began again, which included spreading falsehoods on social media and accusing Natasha of “sleeping around.”

She said the lowest point was reached when she found a message on his phone to a woman where he had asked to pay her to beat her up.

“When he saw I was looking at it he then tried to get the phone. He put his arm around my neck and then grabbed my arm leaving bruises. He also sent private images and videos of me to another woman he was talking to and tried to belittle me.”

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This eventually led to Hawkins’ arrest and being found guilty of the charges after a trial at Manchester magistrates court. He was sentenced to a fine of £120 for assault, £180 for the communications offence (marked paid due to time in custody), a victim surcharge of £72, plus costs of £85. A two-year restraining order was also put in place.

Natasha added: “Everywhere I turn or look I’m scared to see him or even the chance of someone coming to beat me up. I want all women out there if they ever feel something is wrong in the relationship to seek help.

“Clare’s Law is free, it can be done online and they can help you get out. Don’t suffer for the amount of years I have.

“My life has been ruined by this man but one day I hope to be able to live in no fear and have a happier life with my children.

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"He knew I didn’t like people to think bad of me and how him exposing lies on Facebook would reach to my friends as well. I have had a lot of friends believe him and I have now had to cut them out. He would make me feel that I couldn’t cope alone and would struggle alone with the kids. He made me feel as if no one would help me or want me and my kids.

"Since he has gone I have learned I have loads of support, people around me and my kids. I cope better now than with him around.”

Natasha’s interview comes just days after another shocking case was published by Wigan Today involving thug Paul McCann, whose attacks included trying to choke his partner on her dead baby’s ashes.