A woman from Cambridgeshire has spoken out about the 10 years of domestic abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband, including abuse throughout her pregnancies.

Ella, which is not her real name, met her husband in 2013 and moved to his Cambridgeshire home a year later.

She said: "It just felt right. He was quite shy and seemed very loyal and close to his family, which I liked."

However, it wasn't long before her partner began showing a different side to himself. 

He started criticising her over "petty stuff", and began having aggressive outbursts, which often saw him press Ella against a wall or throw items at her.

Ella said that she thought that what she experienced was "a natural trait of marriage."

She added: "I developed a coping mechanism - denial, false hope and blocking things out. I minimised things. For example, he only pushed me - I didn't have any broken bones. There was something wrong with me."

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Ella soon began to live in fear. She said that she would "walk on eggshells" because many of her conversations with her husband would be about his "needs" and his "hurt feelings".

He often told Ella that she "never respected or listened enough" to what he had to say.

Ella said: "He would accuse me of not supporting him, but on the other hand, when I wanted to help him, it was never good enough. I felt like I was insensitive and some sort of cold monster."

The couple got married, and Ella fell pregnant. Throughout her pregnancies her husband continued to push and shove her, which left her terrified for her unborn babies.

Describing her abuser, Ella said: "He got super stressed out about everything in life - daily duties, interactions with people, house chores, and he would take it out on me.

"He humiliated me, put me down, called me names, ridiculed my family and friends, and told me people hated me because I was sick in the head."

He would also use his body to block doorways so that Ella couldn't leave the room without his permission, and he would decide where she slept - he took the duvet from Ella and dragged her to the front door, threatening to make her sleep outside.

Ella spoke of being called a "leech" by him, because the home she shared with him wasn't in her name - he would tell her that she had no rights and couldn't survive without him.

The violence soon escalated, and Ella worried that her children may witness her husband punching or strangling her.

She began to seek support, and used Cambridgeshire Constabulary's Web Chat service to register her phone number with the force.

One night, after another violent attack, Ella texted the police for help. Moments later they arrived on the scene and arrested her husband - who was later convicted for domestic abuse offences. 

Speaking about the moment she decided to contact the force, Ella said: "I couldn’t believe when they arrived; I cried because I couldn’t believe that I had really texted 999 - it was the biggest relief of my life.

"My advice would be to trust the police; they are on your side. The officers who helped me were patient and professional in a practical way. They never rushed me, and they had empathy."

Ella is urging other victims of domestic abuse to seek help from the police or other organisations including Women’s Aid, Victim Support, and the National Domestic Abuse Helpline.