Valerie Sanders, a 58-year-old woman from the UK, spent 17 hours in jail after being charged with “controlling behavior” after allegedly nagging her husband to clean the house instead of his car.
Valerie’s troubles with the law began in April of 2018, when, during a routine check at her husband Michael’s workplace, Jobcentre UK staff noticed he was in a bad mood. After asking him about it, they learned it was because his wife was constantly asking him to clean and polish the family home and complaining that he spent too much time at the gym and cleaning his car. Apparently, this qualified as “coercive or controlling behavior,” an offense punishable by law, so police turned up at the Sanders residence in Catterick, arrested Valerie, and threw her in jail for 17 hours. She was charged with controlling behavior and was forced to fight a legal battle for over a year.
“I was taken to the station and locked in a cell. I’ve never been in trouble. I was horrified. I felt like a criminal,” Valerie said about the shocking moment she was arrested. “I’d leave a note asking him to vacuum parts of the house and clean the patio doors. We have two miniature dachshunds. But he would spend four hours cleaning his car—so of course I complained. Surely, it isn’t controlling behavior, otherwise every married couple would be in court?”
Michael told English newspaper The Sun that it wasn’t his decision to prosecute Valerie, but insisted that she was controlling, constantly leaving the vacuum or the polish out and instructing him to clean the house because of their two dogs. She had also started to complain about his obsession with bodybuilding and spending too much time cleaning his car, which he claims really affected his general mood.