Man forced by evil ex to live in shed, eat cold beans and use bucket for toilet

A man has bravely spoken of how he was forced to live in a shed at the bottom of his ex-partner's garden for more than a year on a diet of cold baked beans and rice pudding.

Former accountant Chris Chapman, 59, is one of the first examples of a white British 'modern day slave' in Nottinghamshire and has dropped his right to anonymity in the hope others will come forward.

During the eight long years of abuse, Mr Chapman was financially drained and forced to live in a small shed with no heating, where his partner controlled the electricity.

He had to bathe in a bowl of cold water, use a bucket to go to the toilet, and was only allowed out of the shed twice a week.

He was also threatened, humiliated, and assaulted by his partner and her new lover, reports Leicestershire Live.

Rabbits in their three-bedroom Kirkby-in-Ashfield home were treated better than he was.

Mr Chapman thought he had found the love of his life when he met Julie Marsden, 55, during a tour of classic rock show Vampires Rock.

He was working in lighting and he was attracted to her "comical and open" personality, but there was something far darker lurking underneath.

Speaking from a hotel room, he said: "I have always been cautious but I threw caution to the wind this time and I paid for it."

The pair formed a relationship in 2010, where she made promises of wedding proposals, but he believes her eyes wandered when she found out he had his own home.

She forced him to sell his Leicestershire property for half the price at £50,000, and moved him into her home, where she began to suck him dry.

He was also encouraged to sell off his valuables in order to assist with the bills, while she never worked again.

"The house money went in six months," he said.

"Every time we went out, she would say 'I would like that.' She took every penny. It (the abuse) started when the money ran out."

He said the first thing to go was his place in the bed they shared; forcing him to sleep on a single mattress under the stairs next to three freezers and a tumble dryer.

She convinced him it was because he had to keep a close eye on their dogs.

"I was getting more ostracised," he said. "She said 'you can leave at any time but you will be homeless. I was fearful of that option."

Then, in 2016, she told Mr Chapman she wanted an open relationship and brought Gary Cooper, 53, into the home they shared.

He moved into the bedroom immediately.

He was told he could no longer eat at the table and was forced to have his tea on the bottom step of the stairs so he didn't make any noise.

Then on a cold New Years Day in 2017, he was booted out of the home and told he must live in the 8ft by 5ft shed at the bottom of the garden, with no insulation.

He had to use bottles and a bucket to go to the toilet, and could only empty the contents on the two days he was allowed out a week.

As Marsden had complete control of his bank accounts, she gave him £15 a week to dip into; money that came from the £146 fortnight benefits he received for ill health.

He lost seven stone due to a poor diet and was given no proper cooking facilities.

They even had a switch hooked up to the home where they could control his electricity.

As his escape was listening to the rock music on his laptop, they would turn it off at 10.30pm, sometimes before, to prolong the suffering.

"I was a slave primarily. There were more and more rules. I had no say.

"When I came out of the shed I was told to go back in. 'You can't be out here. It's not allowed.'

"I had to stay in the shed and I was told I could not look out of the window. If I went into the house I would have Gary threatening to hit me.

"I was given a bowl and an outside tap to wash. I did have a kettle but if I used that for hot water they said their bill will go up.

"They stopped feeding me early on – that was the first thing that was taken away.

"They gave me £15 out of my benefits and I had to live off that. I had to buy my own food.

"It was cold baked beans, rice pudding and some bread. In the middle of the summer my margarine was turning into water. I did not even have a fan.

"When it was cold, it was exceedingly cold because there was no heating. Five days a week I was in there 24 hours a day."

Due to the harsh conditions he developed arthritis and depression.

"I certainly felt dispair. How can I live like this? How did I end up like this? I still clung onto hope, the hope that eventually she had to let me go.

"I really don't know why they treated me that way unless it was purely financial."

Despite the years of abuse, Mr Chapman said: "I still have no degree of malice towards them."

When asked why he never left, he said: "If you don't have a penny – I hadn't even got 20p in my pocket – how do you get out of something like that?

"The fear of being homeless was my greatest fear, which they preyed on.

"I felt very isolated. Lonely is not a strong enough word. I was losing the art of conversation because I was not talking to anyone and because they were telling me what to do.

"I did not live, I endured. It was long days of endurance getting me through each day and to keep my sanity and hope."

Police came across Mr Chapman after a neighbour witnessed Cooper assaulting him in May 2018.

They stumbled across his living conditions and the pair were arrested on modern slavery charges.

The Crown Prosecution Service went for control and coercive behaviour in a relationship and Marsden pleaded guilty.

Marsden was jailed for 16 months while Cooper was jailed for 15 months for assisting the offence.

A restraining order was also made against the pair never to contact Mr Chapman.

Mr Chapman was moved to a safe house for victims of modern slavery.

Detective Sergeant Mike Ebbins, who works for Nottinghamshire Police's Modern Slavery Team, said: "It was a hell hole. You would not want to go into that shed.

"This case is a good example of our misconception that modern day slavery is foreign nationals.

"It is a reminder to all of us that it can happen to anyone. Chris is educated and an accountant. He has lost everything, all of his belongings are ruined."

Mr Chapman added: "I have no history. It was like I was born 18 months ago. I don't even have a photo of my parents anymore."

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