Peter Hook says Caroline Aherne was physically abusive during marriage

Musician claims in autobiography that the comedian, who died in July, attacked him with knives, bottles and chairs before split

The former New Order bassist Peter Hook has spoken out about his troubled marriage to Caroline Aherne, saying she attacked him with knives, bottles and chairs.

Hook, 60, said he was an abused husband in his marriage to the Bafta-winning actor and comedian, who died from cancer in July.

Writing in his new autobiography, Substance, Hook said the years of abuse meant he “couldn’t in all good conscience” join in the tributes to Aherne following her death.

He wrote: “Yes I loved her, yes she could be very funny, and there were times I felt privileged to have a private audience with such a great comic talent.

“But she was also a very troubled person and nowhere did that manifest itself more than in our relationship.”

Hook, who also co-founded the rock band Joy Division, married Aherne in Las Vegas in 1994 but the pair split three years later.

He said Aherne, the writer behind Mrs Merton and the Royle Family, tried to “brainwash” him with negative comments before becoming physically abusive.

Describing the start of the violence, he wrote: “She attacked me, using her nails to scratch at my neck, tearing off my necklace and ripping my top. It was proper shocking stuff.

“And although she was really contrite the next morning it marked the beginning of some serious screaming-banshee behaviour – putting cigarettes out on my arm, attacking me with bottles, knives, chairs and other assorted furniture.

“It would be set off by the slightest thing – talking or looking at another woman was a favourite.”

On one occasion, Hook wrote, Aherne slapped him in front of “30 assorted comedians” in the middle of a British Comedy awards afterparty. He described another incident when Aherne allegedly took scissors to his possessions, including photographs of his children.

Hook said he was left feeling embarrassed and ashamed by the episode, and believes it led to his clinical depression. He wrote: “I was an abused husband and it’s embarrassing, and you feel ashamed, and you can’t tell anyone. I needed help.”

Hook and Aherne split after “the worst argument ever”, in which Hook said he feared his wife was going to stab him. The following morning she left their home in Didsbury, south Manchester. Hook wrote that she said: “I’m leaving, I’m going to kill you if I don’t.”

Hook’s disclosures triggered a huge reaction online, with some questioning the timing of the revelations – published ahead of the release of his book on Thursday – barely three months after Aherne’s death.

But his words were welcomed by charities supporting male victims of domestic abuse.

Mark Brooks, the chairman of the ManKind Initiative, said: “It is very rare yet welcome when a well-known public figure like Peter Hook speaks about being a male victim of domestic violence. This whole area remains one of Britain’s great last taboo subjects.”

Brooks said one in three victims of domestic abuse in the UK were male, according to Home Office statistics. He added: “Many men do not recognise that they are a victim and when they do they fear that they won’t be taken seriously and feel a sense of shame.

“Somebody of Peter Hook’s stature coming forward will make a huge difference in not only giving men the confidence to come forward but will also open society’s eyes to the fact that men as well as women are the victims of domestic violence.”


Josh Halliday North of England correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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