Sheffield man jailed under new law for controlling and abusing partner

Mohammed Anwaar
Mohammed Anwaar

A Sheffield brute who controlled and abused his partner has been jailed for more than two years in a historic ruling for South Yorkshire.

Mohammed Anwaar admitted forcing Gemma Doherty to behave how he wanted for over a year, restricting who she could see, what she was allowed to wear and what not to eat. He used fear to make her run on a treadmill every day, showing her pictures of other women’s bodies and telling her she did not look as good as they did.

Sentencing him to 28 months in prison at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday, Judge Julian Goose QC told Anwaar: “You plainly have a history of violence.”

Nine of the 10 counts he pleaded guilty to at Sheffield Crown Court were related to specific violent incidents. But the 10th was a new charge of controlling or coercive behaviour, only brought in at the end of the year. For that alone Anwaar, from Charlotte Road, received a 12-month prison sentence, with 16 months for the remaining charges.

The 27-year-old told Miss Doherty who she could see, what she was allowed to wear and what not to eat. He forced her to use a treadmill every day, showing her pictures of other women’s bodies and telling her she did not look as good as they did.

The new law, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years, was brought in to include such behaviours, which do not amount to violence but still cause someone to fear violence will be used against them, or generates serious alarm or distress that has a substantial effect on their usual day-to-day activities.

In a victim statement read out to the court yesterday, Miss Doherty said the relationship had started out ‘perfect’ but everything changed in May 2015.

“I knew how quickly his mood could change over the smallest thing.”

Miss Doherty described how she no longer had any self confidence and was worried because Anwaar had a large family and she didn’t want to go out in case she saw them.

“He ruined my daily life,” she said.

Mixed in with Anwaar’s controlling behaviour were violent attacks, the most serious of which in August last year brought a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm. After an argument over money, Anwaar first smashed Miss Doherty’s iPhone before attacking her with slaps and kicks, choking her and causing her to fall unconscious.

He assaulted her on five other occasions, often in front of her young sons. The most recent attack was on March 5 this year, again after an argument, and this was when police were called. The court heard Anwaar slapped Miss Doherty two or three times around the back of the head, put his hands around her throat so she fell to the floor and choked her in a headlock. He continued the assault, hitting her again and calling her a dog.

Nicola Quinney, prosecuting, said Anwaar had held a knife to Miss Doherty’s throat, asking her if she wanted him to kill her, and saying he wasn’t scared of a life sentence.

During the attack, Miss Doherty’s son Ethan, three, was hiding under the bed.

Taking into account Anwaar’s previous convictions, which included several assaults causing actual bodily harm to other men, Judge Goose sentenced Anwaar to 16 months in prison for the assaults and criminal damage, and 12 months for the controlling and coercive behaviour. He also imposed a five year restraining order.

After Anwaar was sentenced, Miss Doherty said she felt a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders.