A FORMER serviceman who beat up his wife for two decades and tracked her movements away from home has been jailed.

Peter Nicholas Stanton put his spouse through "mental torture" as well as physical violence, York Crown Court heard.

Andrew Semple, prosecuting, said the beatings were so often they became "normal" life for the wife.

He accused her of seeing other men and activated the Find Your Phone app on her mobile so that he could always see where she was.

Stanton's daughter, now an adult, and who witnessed the violence, told police her father was a "dictator".

Eventually, after years of being too terrified to leave him, the wife managed to tell police and Stanton was arrested. The couple are now divorced after a 21-year marriage.

For Stanton, Eddison Flint said he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of his experiences on a Royal Navy frigate under fire in the Gulf and had used alcohol to help him deal with it. .

""He has had his own demons and pains in the past which has resulted in wholly inappropriate behaviour," said the defence barrister.

"Lots of servicemen see far worse than you, far, far worse and never behave like that," the Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris told him.

"What you did was embark on a campaign of cruel behaviour against a woman you married when she was 16 and you were all she knew."

As s well as the beatings, "It is mental cruelty you put this woman through" the judge said.

"It is a classic wife or woman beater story".

Stanton, formerly of Selby, and now of Commonhead Road, Glasgow, pleaded guilty to coercive and controlling behaviour within a marriage and was jailed for two years.

He was also made subject to a restraining order, banning him from contacting his former wife and his daughter indefinitely.

Mr Flint said Stanton had at times had suicidal thoughts.

He had not had a happy childhood and had seen violence as a child.

He served in the Navy for nine years.

After leaving the Navy, he had trained as an HGV driver and was now training other HGV drivers.

He now has a new partner and was trying to build a new life in Scotland.

A spokesman for the domestic abuse charity IDAS said: “There is never an excuse for domestic abuse.

"If your partner frightens or harms you IDAS can offer emotional and practical support. Our trained, experienced domestic abuse practitioners will listen, we wont tell you what to do. We can provide support whether or not you choose to report to the Police.

"You can contact us on our helpline 03000 110 110 or our Live Chat on our website between 3 pm – 6 pm Monday – Friday.”