‘Aggressive’ dad who imposed 5-meter distancing rule on wife and kids to appeal conviction

An ‘aggressive’ man who imposed a 5-meter social distancing rule between him and his wife and kids in their home is to appeal his conviction for coercive and controlling behavior.

Peter Copland, who lives in Coalville, had demanded and imposed the social distancing measure after the breakdown in his 33-year marriage to wife Maria was leading to divorce. The retired engineer had even allocated time slots for when Maria and their two children could use the kitchen at their home, reports the Daily Mail.

Last year, the 66-year-old was found guilty of coercive and controlling behavior and was handed a fine by Exeter Magistrates’ Court. However, Copland is now appealing that conviction.

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The 5-meter rule was imposed at Copland’s home in Paignton in Devon during 2020 amid the Covid-19 outbreak, with emails revealing that the distancing requirement had initially been just 2 meters. However, that was then extended as lockdown continued.

Last year’s trial also heard how Copland’s rules went far beyond the 5 meter limit, including the allocation of different rooms in the house. On two separate occasions, Copland had a confrontation with his children, 22-year-old Jessica and 19-year-old James, with the retired engineer said to have been ‘aggressive’ when James had entered the kitchen when he was not supposed to.



Copland claimed his family ‘antagonized and provoked’ him

Similar instances also happened with his daughter, with ex-wife Maria revealing that Copland had shouted “get out” and “it’s my time” repeatedly at his children.

The extent of the rules meant Maria said she and her children were ‘rushed’ in the preparation of meals and often had to eat in the rooms in case they were hungry or thirsty during Copland’s time slot for the kitchen.

“It simply came to our notice then. He was always right, because it was his rules, ”she said.

Speaking at the appeal, prosecutor Herc Ashworth said Copland would say the rules were agreed and were sensitive in the circumstances of the pandemic.

The appeal continues.

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