Rape victim, 36, tortured by ‘Prince Charming’ ex ‘waited NINE months for Clare’s Law’s response’

A rape victim subjected to mental and physical torture by a ‘Prince Charming’ she met on Plenty of Fish ‘waited nine months for police to respond to a Clare’s Law request on whether her ex had been abusive in the past’.

Jennifer, then 36, was initially charmed by former partner Jonathan Mealing after they met through the dating app in 2016.

However, after moving from her home in Bedfordshire to his bungalow in Whitefield, Greater Manchester, he turned violent.

She tried to activate Clare’s Law, which lets people request information from police about their partner’s history of abusive behaviour, but was left waiting for an answer for eight months. 

Instead, Jennifer was raped day and night by Mealing, lived like a ‘slave’ and was forced into marrying him.

Mealing also subjected her to ‘evil’ bullying when she suffered a miscarriage and, on one occasion, threatened to kill their daughter.

He was convicted of 17 offences against three women in March – including multiple rapes, sexual assaults and engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour.

Mealing was subsequently jailed for 30 years at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court earlier this month.

Jennifer, who has waived her anonymity, said she waited 36 weeks to receive a response from police after making a request under Clare’s Law to find out whether Jonathan Mealing had been abusive in the past

Mealing (pictured) was convicted of 17 offences against three women in March - including multiple rapes, sexual assaults and engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour. He was jailed for 30 years earlier this month

Mealing (pictured) was convicted of 17 offences against three women in March – including multiple rapes, sexual assaults and engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour. He was jailed for 30 years earlier this month

In 2016, Jennifer was working as a patrol manager at a Centre Parcs – a job she loved.

She felt bubbly, was enjoying life surrounded by her friends and family and was a size 18-20.

Jennifer joined Plenty of Fish initially out of curiosity, but would get ‘randomers’ messaging her on the app.

She then received a message from Mealing, which simply read: ‘Hi, how are you?’

Jennifer’s first thought was to question why someone in Manchester was messaging her when she lived a considerable distance away in Bedfordshire. 

She decided to ignore the message at first, but replied a day later and the conversation developed into phone calls.

Jennifer described how Mealing was the ‘nicest bloke’ and ‘like Prince Charming’ after he paid for her train ticket to travel up and meet him.

He would also pay for dinner and told her he had a ‘great job as a builder’, though he was actually receiving benefit payments.

The couple continued to see each other most weekends, travelling back and forth on the train.

Mealing told of how his ‘wife’ had died from a cancerous brain tumour, gaining the sympathy of Jennifer, whose own mother was dying from cancer at the time.

By January 2017, Mealing told Jennifer he had found her an ‘amazing job’ with more money, but the role was in Manchester.

Jennifer said: ‘I told him I couldn’t live up there because of my daughter. She was going through her GCSEs at the time and she didn’t want to move.

‘She said she didn’t mind me going and said she was happy staying with my parents. I couldn’t start the job for two weeks, and so I moved up to Bury and from there he got me under his spell.’

The moment she moved into the bungalow in Welbeck Close, Whitefield, Mealing instantly began displaying signs of controlling behaviour.

He would constantly check Jennifer’s phone, took her bank card to ‘manage her finances’ and began restricting her contact with friends and family.

And just four hours into her first day at the new job, she received a phone call from Mealing demanding that give her new colleagues an excuse to return home for the day.

Jennifer said she was subjected to 'evil' bullying when she suffered a miscarriage after being forced to marry her abusive partner

Jennifer said she was subjected to ‘evil’ bullying when she suffered a miscarriage after being forced to marry her abusive partner

She said: ‘He rang me and he told me if I didn’t get home he would put my stuff outside. It’s a fair walk from Prestwich to Bury and he said he didn’t need to pick me up. 

‘I said I couldn’t just leave and he said: ‘Tell them your mum is dying’. She was as she had cancer. But he said: “No, tell them she is dying dying and you have to leave.”

‘I said I really enjoyed it and liked having a job. And he said it’s either leave the job or have no home. 

‘I didn’t know what to do, I was stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. From then, I didn’t have a job.’

The situation began to deteriorate at the bungalow.

Jennifer had a close relationship with her daughter, describing them as ‘best friends’, and the pair would often call each other in the day or go down to visit her in Bedfordshire on weekends.

But Mealing became angry about the visits and instead restricted their phone calls to 6pm only on a Wednesday and Sunday, the calls could only last ten minutes and they were to be held on loudspeaker while he was in the same room.

Jennifer added: ‘From eight weeks old I was her only parent, we were best friends and he destroyed it.

‘I thought that I didn’t want to upset him because I’ve got nowhere to go. My daughter couldn’t contact me on Facebook as he’d deactivated it. Nobody could get hold of me, nobody.

‘He would message my friends and family and tell them I didn’t want to speak to them ever again. I lost a lot of friends and family.’

Mealing also controlled her diet, limiting her to four cubes of chicken, two spoonfuls of rice and only water to drink. She plunged down to around a size six to eight. 

He also bought her gym equipment which he forced her to use in their garden while he watched from the bedroom.

Jennifer was also repeatedly raped. 

Mealing was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court (pictured) earlier this month

Mealing was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court (pictured) earlier this month

Minshull Street Crown Court was told of one such incident where she woke up to him having sex with her while she was asleep. 

When she asked what he was doing, he told her to ‘shut up’ as it was her ‘duty’.

Jennifer said: ‘All he did was smoke and drink coffee and I was his slave. I had no identity. 

‘I used to wear makeup but I wasn’t allowed to. I had natural blonde hair but he bleached it to platinum white, twice a week.’

In November 2017, Mealing forced Jennifer to marry him under the false claim it would help him get in contact with his family.

Jennifer subsequently suffered a miscarriage, following which Mealing blamed her and subjected her to ‘evil’ bullying.

Throughout their relationship, he would be violent when he did not get his way, but when Jennifer tried to leave him on three occasions, he always had a way of ‘getting back into her head’.

Jennifer fell pregnant again a short time later and, following a difficult birth in which she required major surgery, Mealing raped her again.

It proved to be the final straw and Jennifer returned to Bedfordshire to live with her parents and children.

But months later, he threatened to take the child and made threats to kill their daughter during a supervised visit to her house.

Jennifer said: ‘He looked at me with those certain eyes. He had my son in his arms and the baby was screaming.

‘My daughter said: “John, can you stop shouting and leave, you’re making the baby cry.” He told her: “Why don’t you shut your f*****g mouth? I will come to college, put you in the boot of my car and you will never see home again.”‘

The following three years saw further emotional turmoil as Mealing hounded her on social media and made phone calls, but finally moved on to two other victims.

During the intervening period, Jennifer had requested for information under Clare’s Law, but had to wait 36 weeks for a response.

It was only during his sentencing hearing last month that she finally learned of his previous conviction for domestic violent dating back to 1993.

Passing sentence, Judge John Potter told Mealing: ‘This offending pattern is of an abusive, serial and predatory sex offender towards women.

‘You viewed each of your victims as little more than objects to be exploited by you to satisfy your selfish and misogynistic desire.

‘You quickly persuaded each of them to share intimacy with you and as you did this you deliberately tried to destroy their independence.

‘You tried to limit those with whom they have contact with, you tried to take over their financial affairs and you threatened violence or caused violence upon each of them when they tried to resist.’

The judge added that Mealing had ‘no insight’ to the risk he presented and had ‘not a shred of remorse for the gross and serious harm you have caused’.

Mealing, who continued to deny his vile crimes in court, was jailed for 30 years with an extended licence period of eight years.

He was also placed on the sex offenders’ register for life and was made subject to lifelong restraining orders in relation to each victim. 

He will serve 20 years in prison before being considered for release by the Parole Board.

Speaking about the impact of the last three years, Jennifer said: ‘I am lucky I got out, otherwise I would have been six-feet under. He would have killed me. I lost all confidence and self esteem.

‘I was running around like a robot. He had everything, my bank card, marriage certificate, driving licence. I was a dead person.

‘Before I met him, I was qualified, I had a degree – luckily I’ve been able to go back into my dream career. I was nothing, I was just this thing that cooked, f****d, and cleaned – that’s what he used to say. It was a whole different life.’

‘He went from Prince Charming to the most evil monster ever. I hate him. I had rose-tinted glasses at the time, I couldn’t see the bad.’

After leaving the relationship, Jennifer said she was running on two hours of a sleep a night and, when she closed her eyes, she would be taken back to the bungalow.

Jennifer continued: ‘On my mum’s deathbed she said to me: “You’ve got to get out or you’re going to be dead.

‘I wasn’t even allowed to grieve for her when she died. He would say, choose family or choose me, and I chose my family. And he didn’t like that.

‘I had a rough time getting out but I made it. I look at my life today and it’s amazing. I wake up everyday with a smile on my face. I never laughed in Manchester, I never smiled, I was just dead.’

She has since met a new partner and has never felt happier.

Jennifer is also now an ambassador for Stepping Stones, a charity dedicated to empowering women who have suffered from domestic abuse.

She said: ‘When I would tell someone I was raped I felt dirty. I felt that was my duty, I was married and he could do that to me. Then a police officer told me that’s wrong. If I said no and he didn’t get off – it means no. Just find someone you trust to talk to – it could save your life.’

‘If any woman could read this and see they’re going through something like this, if I can save one life, that gives me peace of mind and I’ve done it for the right reasons.

‘My monster is behind bars now. I was living in hell. I will never let anyone do that to me again.’

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