First picture of abusive ex-soldier who left wife in ‘near constant fear’


This is the face of a former soldier who left his wife in a ‘near constant fear’.

Bullying Joseph Onyait was jailed for 27 months last week for controlling and coercive behaviour.

The former Oxford man held a knife to his wife’s face, made regular threats to kill her and pushed her in arguments over online prayer meetings she logged-into during the 2020 pandemic.

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His partner had had to leave the house when the violence flared. She was said to have lived under ‘near constant fear’ during the four years of his coercive behaviour.

Judge Nigel Daly told the former British Army soldier: “For four years at least you made your wife’s life a misery.

“You controlled her, you coerced her, you were violent towards her. She had to leave the house from time to time because of your behaviour.

“And this isn’t just a one off. It went on and on and on.”

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Onyait, formerly of Greenfinch Close, Oxford, pleaded guilty on the day of his trial to controlling and coercive behaviour. He was of previous good character.

In mitigation, Onyait’s barrister Martin Lewis said his client and his wife had had a good marriage but it turned into a ‘thoroughly bad marriage’.

Their union was labelled an ‘African marriage’, with Mr Lewis adding that ‘it was far more misogynistic than a British marriage would be these days’.

Thames Valley Police has now released Onyait’s mug shot.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire’s court and crime reporter.  

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