The defendant in a trial that has heard a catalogue of alleged abuse told the jury his life had been made “a living hell.”

Standing on trial at Truro Crown Court is Matthew J Gardner, who is from the Isles of Scilly but now living in Redruth.

The 34-year-old has been charged with 14 counts, which include:

  • Nine counts of rape.
  • Assault by penetration with a part of his body.
  • Controlling or coercive behaviour.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Reporting restrictions mean some details from the trial cannot be made public.

The trial had earlier heard allegations that the first time he had sex with the complainant she had asked him to stop, with the woman saying in video evidence: “I kept saying to him ‘Please don’t, I don’t want to’ but he said, ‘Just relax, I can’t help myself, I’m so attracted to you’.”

However, when questioned about this today (Thursday) he denied this had happened, describing the sexual encounter as “completely consensual.” He also said there was no reason to suspect that it was not consensual.

Gardner went on to describe their sexual interactions as “always consensual.”

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Defence barrister Andrew Taylor put to him: “One of the allegations is that for 30 days you compelled her to perform oral sex on you.”

Gardner replied: “I’ve never done that, no.”

During video evidence by the complainant, which was played to the jury, she claimed there had been occasions where he had used violence against her, including during sex.

She said there had been times when he had thrown plates at her, and taken his work boots and “whacked them against my head, roaring in my face.”

However, when asked by the defence: “Have you ever used any unlawful violence against her?” Gardner replied: “No.”

And in response to the question: “Have you ever hit her, kicked her, or done anything to cause her injury?” he again replied: “No I haven’t.”

Later he was questioned directly about the work boots, and asked if he had ever thrown them at her, to which he replied: “Not at all, no.”

Mr Taylor also asked: “Has it [a boot] ever come in to contact with anyone, causing them to be injured?”

Again, Gardner replied: “No.”

He denied ever trying to control the complainant sexually, and described their sexual relationship as “always consensual.”

The court had previously been told of one alleged rape, in which it was claimed he grabbed a sock and forced it into the complainant’s mouth, then put his hand on the back of her head and raped her.

Mr Taylor asked him if this had happened, to which Gardner replied: “I would never do that. I would absolutely, categorically never do that to any woman.”

He was also asked: “Did you ever say to [the complainant] ‘If you tell anyone I’ll kill you’ or anything like that?”

Gardner responded: “I’m not a violent person. I’m not confrontational. I would not say that to anyone, especially not a woman.”

He also denied ever saying he would dominate her or telling her ‘I’m in charge’, telling the court: “I never said that to her. I’ve never said that to anyone.”

Mr Taylor asked if there was anything Gardner regretted about any of his actions he took with regards to the complainant.

In an impassioned response, Gardner said: “The only thing I regret with that woman is ever meeting her. She has made my life a living hell. She has destroyed my life for the last three and a half years [since his arrest].

“I have had my name incorrectly printed by the Falmouth Packet. I’m at my seventh job in three years. They have sacked me because of these allegations.

“My name has been absolutely destroyed.”

He went on to add: “I have been waiting for this day in court, to have my name cleared and to have my life back. That’s all I ask of the jury. To make the right decision.”

Earlier in the hearing the court was told that, as a child, Gardner would sometimes find things difficult that other people might find easy.

He added: “I was quite uncomfortable in large social situations.”

This had led to a relatively recent diagnosis of autism. When asked by Mr Taylor: “How do you think autism affects you; how does it manifest itself?” Gardner replied: “Certainly in the last three and a half years since I’ve been going through this.

“Being in large busy groups, struggling to talk to people.”

He also told the court: “I don’t like confrontation.”

At the start of his evidence, the court heard that Gardner grew up on the Isles of Scilly, later attending Truro College on the mainland.

He began a university course but decided to leave and went into employment, doing what he described as “mundane work.”

He enrolled into the Armed Forces and took part in basic training at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines in Lympstone, Devon. However, he said he failed the course on a “technical fail” related to map reading.

He had previously worked as a doorman and said he now drove articulated lorries.

The case for the defence will resume on Friday.

The trial continues.