SCOTTISH poet Len Pennie has revealed the toll taken on her by a four-year battle to escape a domestic abuser.

A new BBC Disclosure documentary follows the writer as she tried to secure justice through the courts.

In it, she describes her relationship with a man named Gregor Monson and said: “I was 17 when I met him. I was really trusting and optimistic.

“I was so hopeful and I had all these ideas about life and love. I miss her.”

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The couple first got together in 2017 and started sharing a house a few years later. However, Monson turned violent during lockdown and although Pennie left him in 2020, the abuse did not end as he began a campaign of harassment.

She reported him to police, hoping this would end the bombardment of messages but they continued.

Monson was charged and a trial date was set for April 2022 but this was adjourned, in the first of many delays.

The process did eventually end with Monson’s conviction at Dundee Sheriff Court in October last year.

After maintaining a plea of not guilty for a year and a half, on the day of his trial he changed his plea to guilty on one charge under Scotland’s Domestic Abuse Act.

The 24-year-old admitted attacking Len during lockdown, pushing her to the ground twice and twisting her arm behind her back.

“I’ve feared for my life. There was a time when he had shoved me and I was looking at him from the floor and I said, ‘I’m going to phone the police,’ and he said, ‘do it, the police are going to laugh at you – they’re going to laugh at you, and they’re not going to believe you’.”

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Monson also admitted to sending hundreds of voicemails, audio files and social media messages almost three years after she had left him.

Police then advised her to make her social media accounts private for her own safety, entering what she describes as a “forced period of stagnation” in her role.

She said: “It was just constant. It was emails, calls, texts, everything, and it was just too much.

“So I block him, I block him, block him, but it kept coming. He continued to insert himself into my life. And it makes me feel terrified.

“It has had such a detrimental impact on my mental and physical health, the mental and physical health of my family, my financial situation, my job, my home situation.

“There’s not a single aspect of my life that this doesn’t poison and ruin.”

Monson was sentenced in January and was ordered to take part in a two-year rehabilitation course for domestic abusers.

The sheriff also granted a three-year non harassment order, preventing him from contacting his former partner.

Pennie has credited staff rom Action Against Stalking, Fife Women’s Aid and Dundee Assist for providing her with support.

She added: “There are people out there who will believe you and will listen to you and will fight for you.

“There are external agencies who truly do fill in the gaps, and they truly do provide the support that you need because you can’t do this alone.

“You can’t fight this on your own. You should speak out if it happens, because it happens too much and it needs to change.”  

"I'm very relieved that it's finally over" she said.

"I'm ready to just put it all behind me and get on with the rest of my life."

A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: "We recognise the devastating impact domestic abuse can have on those affected.

"It is a priority for all prosecutors that we play a key role in delivering justice for victims and supporting them through the criminal justice process."

The Scottish government said domestic violence was "abhorrent and utterly unacceptable".

A spokesperson said: "We know how distressing delays can be and are working with justice partners on a range of initiatives to reduce the time cases take, allocating £42.2m for justice recovery in 23/24."

Anyone who feels affected by any of these issues can contact Action Against Stalking on 0800 820 2427.