Murdered Ellie’s mother, 17, warns of ‘subtle’ signs of domestic violence in teenage relationships
Carole Gould, mother of Ellie, who was stabbed by her jealous ex-boyfriend when she was just 17, has reflected on the “subtle” signs he was trying to control her daughter
Image: Gould family /SWNS.COM)
The mother of a teenager who was murdered by her abusive ex has warned other parents to keep an eye on their children’s relationships.
Ellie Gould, 17, was strangled and stabbed to death by her boyfriend of three months, Thomas Griffiths, in May 2019 after ending their relationship.
Refusing to accept her decision, the villainous Griffiths went to Ellie’s home during a free period on the school day and brutally assaulted her.
After initially grabbing Ellie by the throat, he took a kitchen knife and stabbed her 17 times. When he was done, he washed the knife to get rid of its DNA and stuck the knife back down her throat to make it look like suicide.
Three years after Ellie’s death, her mother, Carole, wants other parents to know about the dangers of a controlled relationship that can easily lead to violence.
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“Looking back now, I realize Griffiths was trying very subtly to control Ellie,” Carole told The Mirror.
“He always wanted her to see him after school – and for the first few weeks it was a first for her. He was her first boyfriend.”
Ever since Ellie died, Carole has explored coercive control in relationships — particularly in young people.
Forced control was officially recognized as a type of abuse and crime in the UK in 2016.
Examples of this include isolating a person from their friends and family, taking up all of their time and monitoring what they are up to and watching what they do online.
For students, there’s another telltale sign of enforced control that Carole spotted in Ellie’s relationship – sabotage in the classroom.
This is when an abuser stops or hinders their partner’s learning and instead takes up all of their time.
“[Griffiths] I kept talking about marriage and kids, which was a lot for a 17-year-old,” Carole said, recalling that Ellie’s killer never seemed to make much of his own studies.
“The week before her exams, Ellie said she wouldn’t see him after school so she could study. But he kept trying to make her feel guilty.”
The mother and activist added that guilt is a common theme in the relationship.
“There was an occasion when Ellie was hanging out with a friend of hers. Griffiths said, “You have to come over to my house, my mom bought food especially for us.”
“As subtle as that might seem, it was manipulative.”
Carole particularly noted one chilling incident that happened the day before Ellie was murdered – and it was the final straw.
She said: “They were in the school common room playing a candy tossing game. Griffiths tugged on Ellie’s arm and told her to sit with him instead, but she shrugged.
“Then he tried to pull her top down in front of everyone.”
Realizing this was alarming behavior, Ellie came home and told her mum what Griffiths had done – and the two agreed it was time to end the relationship.
However, Ellie was never able to enjoy life without her controlling ex as his behavior escalated to unimaginable violence the next day when he stabbed her.
After her daughter’s death, Carole hooked up with Julie Devey, whose daughter, Poppy Devey-Waterhouse, was murdered at the age of 24 by her jealous ex, Joe Atkinson.
The couple have Dr. Studied Jane Monckton-Smith’s “Eight Steps to Murder in Relationships,” which shows how abusers escalate from control to violence.
“The escalation of violence at Griffiths was so rapid and so alarming,” she said. “He went through those stadiums so quickly and there wouldn’t have been time [to intervene].”
But while she notes that stopping Griffiths in time would have been difficult, Carole wants other parents and teens to know and recognize the signs of coercive control for themselves.
“I think young girls need to be educated on what coercive control is. If your partner says, “I don’t want you to go out,” it’s not because he loves you.
“It’s not love. It’s control. Young girls need to be taught what is healthy in relationships.”
Following Ellie’s tragic death, Wiltshire Council launched a review into the murder, which recommended that local authorities work to raise awareness of domestic violence in young people’s relationships.
The review also recommended “that the Wiltshire Community Safety Partnership explore ways to share and consolidate evidence-based best practices in whole-school approaches to healthy relationships across Wiltshire schools”.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mum-murdered-ellie-17-warns-27000374 Murdered Ellie's mother, 17, warns of 'subtle' signs of domestic violence in teenage relationships