A Lossiemouth man has been placed under supervision after admitting a “prolonged” period of abuse and controlling behaviour towards his new wife.
Kevin Cuthbert – who has two previous convictions for domestic abuse – started out as “the perfect partner” but changed once he married in 2021, Elgin Sheriff Court was told.
The 47-year-old was likened to a “Jekyll and Hyde” character who would act loving and affectionate in front of friends but angry and controlling when he was alone with his wife.
Fiscal depute Victoria Silver said the couple had met through a dating site in August of 2020 and got engaged four months later.
They tied the knot in September 2021, however once they were married Cuthbert’s personality changed.
‘Walking on eggshells all the time’
Ms Silver said he was initially “loving” and “the perfect partner” but that didn’t last.
“He moved in with the woman and her three children and started to become controlling, emotionally and mentally abusive – he was extremely moody,” she said.
Ms Silver said the woman had described the atmosphere in the house like “walking on eggshells all of the time” and likened him to a “Jekyll and Hyde” character.
She said: “He was constantly asking where she was going and who she was with. When they were alone, he became angry, but if a visitor came round, he would revert and become loving and affectionate again.”
‘Very secretive’ about his finances
The controlling behaviour was witnessed by his wife’s sister, the court heard, who had thought it “strange” that Cuthbert wanted to change his surname to that of his wife once they were married.
Other strange behaviour was also observed and Cuthbert was “very secretive” about his finances, the court was told.
“He was always with her and she had no time for herself,” Ms Silver said.
“Even mundane tasks, like picking up a takeaway, he would come with her. If she did go anywhere on her own, he was constantly messaging her where she was and when she would be back.”
By mid-December 2021, Cuthbert began getting “snappy” and “impatient” with his three stepchildren and was “very jealous” of his wife spending time with them.
“He joked about sending them to live with their grandparents,” Ms Silver added.
Tried to cut off wife from her friends
“Later in the December, the woman was involved in a car crash in which she broke her sternum.
“One day when they were out walking the family dog together, with one of the children, an argument ensued about who was going to pick up the dog’s poo.
“The woman just went to do it herself, but as she bent down to do so, [Cuthbert] shoved her – knowing that she was still in constant pain.”
Although Cuthbert also tried to stop his wife contacting her friends, she did open up to one about the abuse.
“She confided about how horrendous the relationship had become and that he was constantly checking her phone,” Ms Silver said.
“His phone was linked to the dash cam in her car and he was sure she was having an affair.”
By February 2022, the woman told Cuthbert she no longer felt the marriage was “sustainable” and he began threatening to take his own life.
‘My death will be on your shoulders’
On one occasion, Ms Silver said she had been so worried that her children might come home to his dead body that she rang the police to go and check up on him.
“The police arrived and said he seemed normal,” Ms Silver said. “He was having coffee in the kitchen with the local church minister – acting as if nothing had happened.”
By March 2020, Cuthbert had been threatening suicide again and had driven their car erratically on a journey home from Inverness.
Cuthbert told the woman his death would be “on her shoulders” after she had left the car, so she took the keys out of the ignition – which resulted in him screaming and banging on the door of the family home.
She phoned the police, who took Cuthbert away to be charged and told them he was “not welcome” back.
Cuthbert, now at Forth Place, Lossiemouth, admitted an amended charge of domestic abuse, which also included withholding money, searching through her phone, seizing hold of her by the body and manoeuvring her into different rooms.
Previous convictions for domestic abuse
Cuthbert’s defence agent Iain Maltman said his client had since been diagnosed with an emotionally unstable personality disorder and was “very remorseful”.
He added: “He knows the marriage is now at an end. He is lucky that his previous employment also gave him an interest in ornithology and he now pursues this as an interest.”
Sheriff Olga Pasportnikov noted that Cuthbert had two previous convictions for a domestic abuse and a breach in 2009 and 2015 with a different partner and said the latest abuse had happened over a “prolonged period.
She said: “It was a marriage that should not have happened, for either of them.”
She ordered Cuthbert to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and placed him under supervision for one year.
An earlier version of this article contained a photograph of a man unconnected to this case. We apologise for the error.