A “dream” Tinder date ended in nightmare abuse for a vulnerable Hull woman.
Wesley Spalding, originally from Coventry, sexually assaulted his victim while she slept, deprived her of sleep by playing loud and repetitive music, and even urinated on her.
The 32-year-old, who smirked as his victim read out an statement at Hull Crown Court on Wednesday, met the woman on dating app Tinder.
He was found guilty of assault by penetration, attempting to assault by penetration, two counts of sexual assault and two counts of coercive and controlling behaviour following a week-long trial.
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His victim told the court how her dream date turned sinister, with Spalding manipulating her. “I had worked hard and was renting my own house,” she said.
“I had worked hard on my confidence. Only now I can see I was the perfect target. He seemed so caring and so thoughtful. His manipulation impaired my judgement. It didn’t take long to go back to a shadow of my former self.
“I was sleep deprived and that kept me in a state of confusion. He did things so painful I was embarrassed to tell people.”
A particularly shocking part of the abuse saw Spalding urinate on his victim.
The woman said she experienced “mental torment” at his hands: “I felt like I was a pressure cooker. What was a dream is now a nightmare.
“I battle on a daily basis. I have to speak out for other victims, past, present and future who feel like they don’t have a voice.”
The court heard Spalding had five previous convictions for seven offences including criminal damage and harassment of a former partner.
Claire Holmes, mitigating, told the court his victim was “not particularly vulnerable” despite the fact she was naked and sleeping when Spalding assaulted her. She also told how the woman had suffered problems before meeting Spalding.
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“She has the support of her friends, she has her own friends and she has been able to return to work,” she said.
“This defendant had his own vulnerabilities. There is reference to his depression and the loss of his job, but that is no excuse for this type of behaviour.
“It is relevant because there is reference to his struggles to show his emotional reactions which would lesson his understanding of the harm his behaviour would cause.”
Judge Mark Bury jailed Spalding for seven years, telling him he must serve two thirds of the sentence behind bars before being released on licence.
As he was sentenced, Spalding smiled, apparently showing no remorse for the woman who was still sat in the witness box watching the proceedings.
“Your behaviour towards her changed and involved sexual, physical and emotional abuse,” said Judge Bury. “You deprived her of sleep. You weren’t doing it for your own sexual gratification, but to exert power over her.
“You urinated on her which was extremely humiliating and degrading. There was an occasion where you threatened her with violence.
“You have shown to be a manipulator. She is young and strong and will get past this in due course.”