AN ABUSIVE boyfriend bullied an intelligent university student into a life of turmoil.

Lana Milner was scared to leave her home, banned from using social media or even talking to male friends under Adam Taylor’s reign of terror.

Taylor, 22, moved in with Lana, 18, at her student residence in Phoenix Halls, in Southover Street, Brighton, then began to take control of every part of her life - forcing her to get rid of her phone and computer, accessing her social media accounts and forcing her to leave her job.

Abusive Taylor, who had a previous conviction for harassing a previous girlfriend, was arrested after one of Lana’s friends contacted the police - because she was too scared to call them herself after five months under his control.

But after he was spared jail Lana told The Argus: “It’s not justice. He’s getting away with it. “ “When this is what he gets you can see why people don’t report it. “There’s so much pressure put on the victims and then he gets off scot-free.

“I just hope this shows everyone what he’s really like and no one else falls for his tricks.”

Taylor admitted being coercive and controlling - a new crime intended to stop bullying boyfriends - but walked free from court.

He was given a restraining order stopping him from contacting Lana, but she said she held out little hope of him sticking to it but prayed no other girls would ever fall for his deceitful tricks.

Lana’s now preparing to return to her sociology and criminology degree course but said she still feels “quite anxious” about her ordeal.

Crown prosecutor Martine Sherlock told Brighton Magistrates’ Court: “Miss Milner had suffered extreme emotional trauma.

“She felt she was being watched all the time. She was too afraid to leave the flat and go into the police station itself.

“She was cut off from all her friends.

“If she stood up to Mr Taylor he became aggressive.

“He shouts at her, spits on her when drunk, pushes her out of bed and laughs at her. He punches her and claims its a joke.

“He wouldn’t let her talk to or have men as friends.

“When he found out she had spoken to a man from home he shouted at her; making her scared.”

Taylor even made up a fanciful web of lies pretending to have been a Marine and in the SAS.

But his real job was as a glass collector at Pryzm nightclub in West Street, Brighton.

Taylor hacked into Lana’s facebook account and threatened a male friend “I’m her boyfriend, stay away”.

Taylor admitted engaging in coercive and controlling behaviour - a new offence introduced in December 2015 for which Sussex Police only secured their first conviction in May.

But Taylor, who had already spent nine weeks at Lewes prison on remand was spared an immediate jail sentence. The court was told that Taylor’s actions also breached the conditional discharge he was given for a domestic incident against a former girlfriend.

Explaining the details of the case Ms Sherlock said: “Police became aware of these events when a friend of Mis Milner called the police on June 14. The reason the friend contacted the police was because Lana Milner herself was too scared.

“She asked for an unmarked car and officers in plain clothes to attend and speak to her because of the effect of this abusive relationship that had been going on for five months or so.

“If [Lana] stood up to Mr Taylor he became aggressive and raised his hands to her. There had been some previous physical assaults on her.

“Her flatmates had been on edge and said they had to call security several times a week. “ When police arrived Lana told them that having started her relationship with Taylor on New Year’s Eve he had moved into her flat and become increasingly controlling and jealous.

She said she had never known where he lived before but he insisted on knowing about every detail of her life.

Ms Sherlock added: “Mr Taylor comes and goes as he pleases, goes clubbing or wherever he likes, but tells her to stay at home.

“She told police she had never met her father , but Taylor said to her he knew her father and that he was not a nice man and wanted to kill her.

“She said he was the cause for her leaving her job, telling her that her father was following her to work and she was in danger at home.

“She doesn’t know his address or phone number and he has been staying in her student accommodation.”

While police officers were speaking to Lana, Taylor arrived at her home - banging on her door at 4am and he was arrested. He originally denied the charge of coercive control - but changed his plea a week before the case was due to go to trial.

Oliver Mackrell, defending Taylor, said he had pleaded guilty to prevent Lana having to give evidence.

He added: “The victim has said herself the relationship started off perfectly but when it was bad it was very, very bad. He does accept his actions and he know he needs help.”

Mr MacKrell added that whilst in prison awaiting court he had a “lot of time to think about things and get help.”

Taylor was sentenced to a nine week sentence - suspended for two years and given a two year restraining order. He was also told he would have to complete a course on “building better relationships”.

He was given no further punishment for breaching the conditional discharge he received for abusing a previous girlfriend.


COERCIVE control is a relatively new offence to try and tackle the patterns of abusive behaviour that stop short of physical violence.

The new powers are in their infancy and magistrates deciding Adam Taylor’s fate had no sentencing guidelines on which to decide a proportionate punishment for his crime - however the law does allow offenders to face up to five years behind bars for the crime.

Sussex Police secured their first conviction earlier this year. St Leonards binman Robert Conlon was sentenced to four years behind bars in May - a far cry from Taylor’s nine week suspended penalty.

On Monday magistrates in Brighton made their ruling on Taylor’s sentence based on the guidelines set out for harassment cases.

A consultation is currently being carried out by the Sentencing Council so that judges and magistrates can deal with people convicted of intimidatory offences more fairly.

Sentencing guidelines will be introduced for a raft of new intimidatory offences including stalking, revenge porn, controlling or coercive behaviour and threats to kill.

Domestic abuse is not currently a specific crime - but currently any offences occurring within a domestic context such as assault, sexual offences or criminal damage should be dealt with more harshly.

The new powers were introduced in 2015. Controlling or coercive behaviour is defined under section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 as causing someone to fear that violence will be used against them on at least two occasions, or generating serious alarm or distress that has a substantial effect on their usual day-to-day activities.

The Crown Prosecution Service says abuse can include a pattern of threats, humiliation and intimidation.

It can also include stopping a partner socialising, controlling their social media accounts, surveillance through apps or dictating what they wear.

The new law is likely to generate complex challenges over precisely what constitutes criminal behaviour.