WATCH: Man denies coercive control after death of Waterlooville woman as supporters gather outside court

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A man has appeared in court where he denied coercive control against his girlfriend who was found dead in Waterlooville.


Stephen Sexton, formerly of Nevinson Way but who was previously bailed to an address at Cherrywood Gardens, Totton, entered two not guilty pleas to coercive control over Joanna Derkacz, 37, as her supporters gathered outside Portsmouth Crown Court.

Joanna was found dead on Thursday December 28 inside a house in Nevinson Way, sparking a police murder probe and sending shockwaves through the community. Police are still investigating the death.

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It is alleged 36-year-old father-of-one Sexton controlled Joanna for a period of 16 months before her death. The couple had been in a relationship for three years. During the brief hearing, Sexton denied the charges with the case sent for trial on September 30 at Portsmouth Crown Court. 

The popular woman, who worked as a recruitment agent, was buried last month in her native Poland where her family lives. A fundraiser fetched over £12,000 to help with costs of repatriating her body back to Poland.

Outside court, friends, family and well-wishers held pictures of Joanna with candles laid by the steps of the court building and balloons placed on nearby trees as they called for answers into her tragic death. 

Joanna's sister, on behalf of her family, previously said of her sister: “We will love you always sweet angel. You didn't deserve this. I'll fight for the justice till my last breath. I promise.”