An abusive man who threw his partner across a room, injured one of her young children, and taped a crying child's mouth shut has been jailed.

William Stephen Stokes, 37, admitted assaulting his former partner and her children in a series of offences in Runcorn and Widnes. Stokes, of Rainhill, entered the relationship with the woman in 2022, with police saying the couple were happy for a time.

However, as time passed, Stokes became increasingly more aggressive, violent, and controlling. On one occasion, he threw his partner across the room - but his violence was not exclusively reserved for adults, reports Cheshire Live.

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During a car journey in March, 2023, Stokes spotted one of the children with their feet up on the seat – he became angry and grabbed at the child’s seatbelt, pulling it so tightly that the child was left with an injury to her hip.

A month later, one of the children woke up crying, enraging Stokes. He held the child down and taped her mouth shut with gaffer tape.

The victim found the courage to end the relationship with Stokes, and reported him to Cheshire Police that month. Stokes was arrested and bailed, with conditions that he should not contact the victim but his obsessive behaviour continued.

Some 12 days after he was reported, Stokes turned up at the children's school in Runcorn at home-time. After being collected by their mother, the children spotted Stokes walking nearby and began crying, begging their mother to take them home immediately.

Stokes had his friends threaten the victim and her family members, and was also seen to be driving through the victim’s estate in Runcorn. He was rearrested on May 8, 2023.

Stokes was subsequently charged with assault by beating, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, intentional suffocation, stalking, possession of Class B drugs and possession of a prohibited weapon.

He appeared at Chester Crown Court on Monday (November 20), having earlier pleaded guilty to assault by beating, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, intentional suffocation, possession of Class B drugs and possession of a prohibited weapon. He was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

He was also handed a ten-year restraining order. Following his sentencing, Detective Constable Lauren Henthorn said: “This was an extremely traumatising experience for the victim in this case and I hope that Stokes’ sentence, along with his 10-year restraining order, will provide her with some reassurance.

“Domestic abuse is not acceptable and will not be tolerated, and we want to send out a clear message that nobody should have so have to suffer in silence. If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or if you know someone who is a victim, please get in touch.

“We treat all reports of domestic abuse extremely seriously and will use all the powers available to us to ensure that those responsible are held accountable."

DC Henthorn added: “Help is also available through the National Domestic Violence Helpline, on 0808 2000 247. In addition, if you have concerns about your current or ex-partner, because you're worried, they may have a history of abuse and are a risk to you, then you can submit a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) application.

“The scheme, also known as Clare’s law, enables the police to release information about any previous history of violence or abuse that a person might have.”

To find out more about Clare’s law, or to submit a DVDS application, visit the Cheshire police website. To report any incidents of domestic abuse contact Cheshire police on 101, or report online. In an emergency call 999.

Further help and support is also available online at