Domestic abuse survivor speaks out on 'reign of terror'

Sophie Eyers suffered physical, emotional and financial abuse throughout her six-month relationship.

Sophie Eyers suffered physical, emotional and financial abuse throughout her six-month relationship. - Credit: Cambs Police

A brave domestic abuse survivor has told of a “reign of terror” at the hands of her partner who punched, spat and stamped on her before threatening her with a meat cleaver. 

Sophie Eyers was subjected to physical, emotional and financial abuse throughout her six-month relationship with Samuel James, 30, before he was jailed in July 2019. 

James, formerly of Brownlow Road, St Ives, was jailed for three years and given a restraining order for 10 years. 

Sophie has now recorded a film with Cambridgeshire Police to courageously share her experience as part of World Voice Day, which was on April 16. 

“While I was with Sam he slapped me, punched me, stamped on me repeatedly and spat in my face,” Sophie said. 

“He put my arms underneath my body and sat on top of me so I could not defend myself. 

“I felt I was as good as dead – and that one day he would kill me.” 

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The level of anxiety James caused Sophie left her unable to sleep, with James threatening to kill her, put her in his car boot or “smash her teeth”. 

On December 19 2018, Sophie was referred to Hinchingbrooke Hospital by her GP after suffering from bruising to her left arm and a cut to her head. 

She disclosed to hospital staff that she had been attacked by James at the home they shared in St Ives. 

She later admitted James had attacked her, telling police James had hit her across the head and kicked her while she was on the floor. 

Samuel James, of St Ives, has been jailed for 36 months. Picture: CAMBS POLICE

Samuel James, of St Ives, has been jailed for 36 months. Picture: CAMBS POLICE - Credit: Archant

He then dragged her across the kitchen floor towards the living room before pinning her on the sofa and sitting on her with clenched fists. 

In February 2019, James threatened Sophie with a meat cleaver which he kept by his bed. 

James punched walls in the house and said she “would be causing a murder scene”. 

Sophie's story was shared on World Voice Day to emphasise survivors of domestic abuse will be heard and listened to in Cambridgeshire.  

Sophie said: “Wait until you are in a safe place like a toilet and ring for help or if you are out food shopping, just stay in a public place and get help.” 

Not only does the film highlight Sophie's heart-breaking personal experience, but also the support available to those who speak out. 

The 10-minute film features Detective Constable Kellymarie Harman, who led the investigation and supported Sophie throughout the prosecution process. 

DC Harman said: "After we arrested her partner, Sophie told us we had saved her life. 

"No one should have to suffer from any kind of abuse and I would also like to thank Sophie and applaud her bravery in coming forward. 

"It gives me immense pride to share the video and I hope it gives members of the public an insight into how domestic abuse is dealt with here in Cambridgeshire.  

“More importantly, I also hope it gives Sophie some closure and highlights the support we provide to victims." 

Last year there were 14,670 reported incidents of domestic abuse in Cambridgeshire, a four per cent increase on the year before. 

Detective Superintendent John Massey added: "I would like to commend Sophie for the courage she has shown while filming this video and I hope her bravery will encourage others to speak out. 

"Tackling domestic abusers and supporting victims continues to be one of our main priorities and our work has never been more important following a year of restrictions due to the pandemic. 

"I want to reassure anyone who is suffering and considering reaching out for support that we have a team of dedicated officers ready to help you and do everything possible to bring offenders to justice." 

Anyone who is a survivor of abuse, or concerned about the safety of a loved should get in touch with police.  

More information and advice can be found here on the force website