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Aid worker’s daughter in ‘justice’ call over punishments for emotional abuse

Bethany Haines’ former partner had his jail sentence overturned in January this year.

The daughter of a British aid worker murdered by Islamic State (IS) terrorists has vowed to “fight for justice” as she spoke out about the overturning of a jail term given to her controlling former partner.

Bethany Haines – the daughter of David Haines, who was beheaded in Syria in 2014 – said community punishments do not reflect the impact that such controlling actions can have upon victims.

Andrew Murray was jailed for 21 months in October after he admitted causing his ex-partner fear or alarm with his behaviour.

Murray’s sentence was reduced upon appeal earlier this year to 200 hours of community service, court officials confirmed.

In an interview on the BBC Scotland website, Ms Haines said: “It’s absolutely disgusting – no-one should be let out that early after committing the crimes like he did.”

Reflecting on her ordeal, the 20-year-old said: “It was love at first sight, (we were) really into each other.

“Things were going great and I started noticing little things like I wasn’t allowed to wear fake tan. I wasn’t allowed to paint my nails, wear tight jeans.

“Then when I moved into my own property, Andrew moved in with me and things escalated very quickly. It got to the point that I didn’t feel safe any more.”

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David Haines was killed in 2014 (Danny Lawson/PA)

Vowing to campaign for “justice” for other victims of emotional abuse, she said: “These crimes damage a lot of people psychologically and it can take years of getting back to knowing who you are again.

“These punishments don’t reflect that. It’s not over till I say it’s over and I will fight for my justice and any other girl or boy that’s put in that position and doesn’t have punishment.”

MSPs last month passed a “momentous” new law which creates a specific offence of domestic abuse in Scotland.

Perth Sheriff Court heard last year how Ms Haines was left “scared and belittled” by her controlling on-off partner who defaced a scrapbook she kept to remember her late father.

The court was told Murray, then 22, was jealous of her male friends and would accuse her of being unfaithful to him.

During their relationship between January and October 2016, he tampered with her mobile phone, sent a compromising photograph of him and Ms Haines to a friend and punched a hole in the bedroom door of the home they shared in Perth and Kinross.

The court heard how Ms Haines’ family and friends saw a difference in her appearance and demeanour when she was with Murray.

She stopped wearing make-up, rarely left the house and became hostile, prosecutors said.

Murray repeatedly checked her mobile phone and social media messages, and insisted she remove about 50 male friends from her Facebook account.

Yorkshire-born Mr Haines, 44, was taken hostage in Syria while working for international relief agency Acted in March 2014.

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