Cabbie who calls himself ‘Singing Taxi Guy’ admits gaslighting and controlling his wife during 17-year marriage after calling her a ‘useless ‘f****** parent’ and attacking her because washed dishes had ‘bad odour’
- Gary Cowburn, 45, made his ex-wife’s life a misery with his outbursts
- The taxi driver was given a two-year suspended jail sentence for his behaviour
A cabbie who calls himself ‘Singing Taxi Guy’ has been ordered to complete a domestic violence rehabilitation programme after he admitted gaslighting and controlling his downtrodden ex-wife during their 17 year marriage.
Gary Cowburn, 45, is usually better known for social media posts on Facebook in which he warbles cheerfully at the wheel of his private hire vehicle.
However off camera, Cowburn was so abusive towards ex-wife Caroline Cowburn at home that he attacked and humiliated her when a set of dishes she had washed still had a ‘bad odour.’
In one outburst, the father of two, from Hindley, Greater Manchester told his 44-year old wife: ‘From tomorrow there will be rules that I will make on my own that you will stick to or I will smash each and every piece of tech that you and the kids have.
‘This will be the last time you go against me. Seriously you need to have a look at yourself, you useless f*****g parent.’
Gary Cowburn, 45, developed a reputation online as a singing taxi driver
Cowburn admitted coercive and controlling behaviour
Caroline Cowburn was the victim of her ex-husband’s controlling behavior
In another incident Mrs Cowburn fled to the home of a neighbour in pouring rain after another attack only to be forced due to COVID restrictions to shelter outside under a blanket whist police took 33 minutes to arrive at the scene.
‘This is not about punishment, it is about accountability’
At Bolton Crown Court the victim who has two daughters aged 17 and 13 with Cowburn read out an emotional charged statement in which she quoted the US writer Austin Gentry who wrote: ‘Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’ The warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm’.’
She said: ‘When I got married, it was for life. I bought into a partnership with someone that I could laugh and cry with. Someone I could grow old with. Now it’s now clear to me that my ex signed up for something very different. It was not for the same things as me.’
‘Throughout the relationship he made me feel overwhelmed, tired, anxious, cheated, angry and sad. I had developed mechanisms to deal with his behaviour. I felt belittled and undervalued as a wife, a lover and a woman.’
‘I struggled to set boundaries and learned how to minimize his behaviour during the marriage.
‘Learning to say no and to try not to people please is difficult. I find putting myself first difficult.’
‘I never wanted to rock the boat. When you got into this pattern there is very little energy left for yourself. I have recurring nightmares about my ex-husband coming into my house.
‘Sometimes he has a key, sometimes he’s on the roof pulling off tiles and making his way in. It always ends in him coming in and taking my phone and questioning me. The only positive is that when I wake up and I realize it was a dream and I am safe on my own.’
‘I have had a number of panic attacks, including one at a railway station. Gaslighting was rife during my marriage.
‘When I book a holiday I always think, god, what would he think. I am so used to managing his reactions. I over explain myself, always looking to provide a reason and justification even when there is no need.’
‘When people ask why didn’t you leave I feel embarrassed because they do not understand the gravity of the situation I was in. I tell them don’t judge me until you have walked a mile in my shoes.’
‘As a mum I feel I have thrown my children to the wolves. This may seem extreme but it is the best way I can explain how I have not been around the fight their corner against their Dad.’
‘I worry that they won’t know how to say to no in their relationships in the future. I still carry the guilt of not being there for them and I feel like a hypocrite for asking help for myself, especially when it was me that walked away.’
‘No child should have to see one parent prosecute another. I am a constant for my daughters, I will always do my best to solve whatever problems come their way.’
‘I never asked for child support from their Dad as any money I take from him will only negatively impact their time with him.’
‘I am a very different person to who I was back then. I am now living my best life. However, some days it does feel like a cloud is following me around. This is not about punishment, it is about accountability for someone who has done wrong.’
Mrs Cowburn eventually plucked up the courage to leave her husband and later filed for a non-molestation order against him.
She now is rebuilding her life under her maiden name after getting a top job at an architectural firm.
At Bolton Crown Court, prosecutor Collette Renton said the couple met during a night out in 1999, began dating soon after and married in 2004.
‘From 2001 the complainant has recalled a number of incidents where the defendant has exhibited jealous and controlling behavior towards her, which have often been fueled by alcohol.
‘In one incident the couple had an argument, which started over the dishwasher. The defendant said to the complainant that the plates had a bad odour.. She acknowledged his response but after this he pushed her against the counter and forced his hand against her neck for a few seconds. He then threw a glass onto the kitchen floor, causing it to smash. He then said : ‘See how long that takes you’
‘In the process of cleaning up the glass the complainant cut her foot. The next day she received an abusive text from the defendant saying ‘From tomorrow there will be rules that I will make on my own that you will stick to or I will smash each and every piece of tech that you and the kids have. This will be the last time you go against me.’
He later followed up with: ‘You absolute b***h, go f**k yourself. Seriously you need to have a look at yourself, you useless f*****g parent. Don’t come back in without the kids because you won’t get back in.’
‘In another incident the defendant and complainant were in bed together. The defendant wanted sex but the complainant did not and he then began talking about his father, who was going through a terminal illness. He said she had not visited him in hospital, which upset her. He then punched her four times in the arm, causing bruising. He asked her to lie about how she got the bruises.
‘Later an argument ensued between the couple because the complainant would not tell her nephew to leave their house. As a result the defendant left the house in anger, taking his two daughters to stay at his mother’s house at noon.
‘But at around 12:15pm the complainant received a text from one of her daughters saying that their Dad had a fight with his mother and they were on their way back. She then received a message from the defendant saying ‘You better not be in when I get home.’
‘As a result she grabbed her belongings and left the house on foot in an attempt to escape to a friend’s house. But as she was walking out on the street the defendant pulled up alongside her and began shouting and swearing at her from his car. He then got out of the car and grabbed her phone from her. The complainant was distressed by this incident and began shouting to people to call the police and help her.
‘A neighbour then called the police but had to wait 33 minutes for them to arrive. When the police arrived they arrested the defendant but not before he deleted the messages that he had sent her on her phone. Due to the COVID pandemic, the complaint was not able to shelter in the neighbour’s house and instead had to wait outside in her garden under a blanket.’
‘In February 2021 the complainant was due to attend a domestic violence support session when she received a text from the defendant saying ‘Oh your off to one of your sessions, tell me what are they are about.’ When she got back home, her daughters said the defendant had been kicking off and had thrown suitcases out of the attic.’
‘She then drove straight to her friend’s stay during which she had received a number of abusive emails from him. She returned home later to collect her things and realized that a number of her personal belongings were missing.. She later saw CCTV evidence showing the defendant throwing three suitcases into the back of his van and driving off.’
‘Later that same month the complainant got a non-molestation order against the defendant from the family court.’
Desite his affable online appearance, Cowburn’s actions at home made his ex-wife’s life hell
Cowburn was given a two year jail sentence suspended for two years
Cowburn who has a new partner admitted coercive and controlling behaviour between 2019 and 2021 and was given a two year jail sentence suspended for two years.
He was further ordered to complete 30 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and a Building Better Relationships Course and 140 hours unpaid work. He was banned from contacting his ex-wife for ten years under the terms of a restraining order.
In mitigation, Ellen Shaw said: ‘He has maintained contact with his children and takes them out. His children have had to witnessed something that no child should have to witness in the family home. But they will benefit from him being out of prison.’
In sentencing, the judge Miss Recorder Sally Hatfield KC told Cowburn: ‘I hope the complainant’s impact statement made very difficult hearing for you because it set out the distress you caused her and your two daughters.
‘By providing a guilty plea you have saved the complainant the enormous ordeal of a trial but you also accept you have a lot of work to do. It is the start of a long journey for you.’
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