Woman, 29, 'overdosed on pills after her controlling boyfriend, 33, banned her from using phone and replied to messages on her behalf'

Detectives told jurors that Stephanie Watkiss, 29, only had five contacts on her phone and that Christopher Cooksey, 33, had taken it off her and would reply to messages on her behalf.

Her sister, Samantha Smith, told the court she had suspicions that something wasn't right when she got a text from Ms Watkiss, saying that she would not be joining the family for Christmas.

She told the court that when she confronted Ms Watkiss about the last minute change of plans, she was horrified to find out that it was actually Cooksey who had been messaging her.

She said in Cardiff Crown Court: "Stephanie said it was not her. She did not have a phone anymore. Chris was in control of her phone."

Ms Watkiss met Cooksey, 33,  who is on trial for "controlling and coercive behaviour" at their local gym.

Ms Smith told the jury that Cooksey initially seemed friendly, polite and charming, adding: "All the things you want to hear your sister say about her boyfriend."

She said: "She told me she had met a lovely guy called Chris and that they were going on a date.

"She did speak very highly of him. She said he wasn’t Brad Pitt but he was nice to look at."

But the court heard how on December 28, Ms Smith found her sister "slumped" on the floor following a suspected overdose.

He had allegedly "flown into a rage" at her office Christmas party and when they got back to their B&B, he grabbed her by the neck and forced her to snort lines of cocaine.

Prosecutor Matthew Cobbe said: "He insisted that she clean herself up but also insisted she take cocaine."

Ms Smith that her sister had told her that "there was no way out" and that "this was her life now".

Just days later she was rushed to hospital after taking an overdose of pills after Cooksey had allegedly attacked her.

Ms Smith said: "She said he had beaten her. She said he had hit her arm and hit her ribs. Her ribs were in such pain she asked for an X-ray.

"It was all a bit jumbled. She couldn’t walk without wincing with her ribs.

"She said it was the only way she was going to get out alive. She said it was the only way out.

"She said she was going to end up in a body bag.”

On another occasion, the court was told that the couple had argued about a Facebook message from 2016.

He then allegedly forced his girlfriend to drink Caribbean rum based drink Malibu.

Mr Cobbe said: “He returned to the room with a bottle of Malibu, forcing her to drink a large amount.

“She took herself half-dressed to the kitchen to drink the Malibu. She forced it down as he watched.”

Detective Inspector Laura Jones said that an examination of Stephanie's phone showed she only had five contacts in it.

Stephanie had told the DI that Cooksey would write the messages himself.

She said: "She said she was petrified of him."

Cooksey, of Pontypool, Gwent, denies one count of administering a poisonous or noxious substance to Stephanie in December last year.

He also denies four counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, one of assault by beating, one of false imprisonment, and one of controlling and coercive behaviour.

The trial continues.

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