A mum was terrorised in her own home for hours by a man she met on a dating website.
Jason Driver put his belt around Chantelle Curry’s neck, leaned on her windpipe and pushed his thumbs into her lips to stop her screaming, causing her teeth to pierce them.
The 38-year-old, from Middlesbrough, pushed him off but Driver, 40, continued to torment her through the night while her two young children were asleep in the house.
He hit Chantelle with a belt, chased her, pinned her down, twisted her neck and grabbed her throat and hair.
When he finally left her property, Chantelle grabbed her children, ran to a local shop for help and reported the assault to police.
Driver, who has 38 previous convictions for offences including domestic violence, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm.
He was jailed for one year at Teesside Crown Court in May and was released last month, due to the time he had already served on remand.
Chantelle said she would never have met up with Driver if she had been aware of his previous convictions – and now she’s urging other women to make use of Clare’s Law..
Clare’s Law, named after Salford murder victim Clare Wood, gives any member of the public the right to ask the police if their partner may pose a risk to them.
In 2009, Clare was strangled and set on fire by her ex-partner George Appleton, who had a history of violence against women.
Chantelle, who is a full-time mum to Henson, six, and Jaynie, two, said: “Until I met Jason, I knew nothing about Clare’s Law.
“People can’t wait to be attacked to know about Clare’s Law.
“I could feel the air stopping and my eyes were rolling.
“I was saying ‘please don’t hurt me – my kids, my kids’.
“I don’t even know where I got my strength from, I felt really weak.”
Chantelle met Jason, who lived in Cambridge, on a popular online dating website in October last year.
She said he initially used a different profile picture and name before revealing his true identity to her a few weeks later.
Chantelle said that she gave Jason “the benefit of the doubt” as they got along so well.
In January 2020, Chantelle met Jason in person while he was visiting a relative in Redcar.
Over the next four weeks, they continued to meet up and spend time together.
On February 8, Chantelle said Driver became frustrated with the amount of time she was spending with her friends.
She said they had an argument at her home in Grangetown before going to bed.
Chantelle, who is in marching jazz band Jazzmanelles, said: “He jumped into bed fully clothed with his shoes on, lying on his back with his hands on his chest, looking at the ceiling.
“He looked very dark and deep with his eyes. He didn’t say a word to me what so ever.
“I thought I would put my arm around him and then that was the beginning of the attack.”
Following the assault, Chantelle had a cigarette with Driver in an attempt to placate him.
His behaviour changed from anger to professing love, asking her if she was his “queen” and if he could still be her “king”.
Chantelle managed to call her mother, who called a taxi firm, and Driver left her home at 6am.
He was arrested, charged and remanded in prison.
Chantelle said she was unable to see him sentenced for the assault in court, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Chantelle, who has been left with patches of hair missing, said “I feel, as a victim, I’m living this prison sentence not him!
“He’s done a few months in jail and he’s now out living his life.
“If I walk outside now and I see somebody with a belt on I freak out. I physically can’t look at a belt.
“I don’t feel victims get enough support.
“The worst thing was not being able to go to court, look him in the face and say to him ‘I hope you never do this again’.”
Chantelle has urged others to avoid using online dating websites.
She said: “Please don’t go on a dating site. If you want to meet somebody go out.
“I feel stupid letting him come into my house.
“He was so nasty and he looked at me as if I was a piece of dirt – all I did was have my friends around.
“I’m just frightened for the next person he gets with.”
Domestic abuse can take any form – psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional.
Domestic abuse or violence is a crime – if you’re in immediate danger, call 999.
Support can also be sought through the English National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
- My Sister’s Place’ provides support services to women over 16 years who are or have suffered domestic abuse. Visit www.mysistersplace.org.uk or call 01642 241 864.
- The Respect Phoneline is a confidential helpline for domestic violence perpetrators, male or female, wishing to address their violence and abuse. Call freephone 0808 802 4040 Monday to Friday.
- Hart Gables aims to provide support and inclusion to lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender individuals of all ages, and the wider community in the Teesside area. Visit www.hartgables.org.uk or call 01642 675509.
- Arch is a specialist provider of free, confidential sexual violence support services across Teesside, offering support to men and women over 14 who have suffered rape or sexual abuse at any time in their lives. Visit www.archnortheast.org or call 01642 822331.
- Tees Valley women’s Centre is the only “women only” space in Teesside, providing a holistic approach to all women’s issues. Visit www.teesvalleywomenscentre.org.uk or call 01642 296166.
- EVA supports women and their families who are, or have been, victims of domestic/sexual abuse and violence. Visit www.evawomensaid.org.uk or call 01642 490677.
- Halo Charity provides support to anyone suffering honour based violence and anyone at risk of forced marriage. Visit www.haloproject.org.uk or call 01642 683045.
- Harbour Support Services offer a range of different services to assist those affected by domestic abuse. Visit www.myharbour.org.uk or call 03000 202525.
- Foundation is a social inclusion charity that believes in empowering people to make changes in their lives. Visit www.foundationuk.org or call 0113 3030150.
- Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for Teesside is in North Ormesby Health Village but covers the whole of Teesside. Visit www.sarcteesside.co.uk or call 03333 44 8283.
- Men’s Advice website is a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic violence, in heterosexual or same-sex relationships. Visit www.mensadviceline.org.uk or call freephone 0808 801 0327 Monday to Friday.
She added: “Every woman should know about Clare’s Law.
“Even if I could just save one person I would be happy.”
Driver was handed a three year restraining order against Chantelle by Teesside Crown Court.