‘Obsessively jealous’ Sheffield thug’s violent attacks pushed lapdancer close to suicide

Anthony Whitmore
Anthony Whitmore
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An ‘obsessively jealous’ thug whose campaign of violence against his lapdancer girlfriend pushed her close to suicide has been jailed for three years and 10 months.

Anthony Whitmore carried out a series of attacks on the woman during their 10-month relationship - repeatedly slapping and strangling her and leaving her with injuries including a perforated eardrum and a black eye.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that when she ended their relationship he made a series of threatening phone calls to her, saying in one of them he was going to kill her.

And while out on bail as police investigated him for the assaults, Whitmore - who had never passed a driving test - took a housemate’s vehicle without permission, drove on the wrong side of the road on the A57 and was involved in a head-on collision with another car that almost left a passenger in the other vehicle paralysed.

Richard Thyne, prosecuting, said Whitmore, 27, of Jermyn Avenue, Hackenthorpe, had met his former girlfriend when she was working at a lapdancing club.

They began a relationship in March 2014, with his abusive behaviour towards her starting around six weeks later when he started calling her a ‘tramp’ and a ‘slag’.

In July 2014, after she had gone for a night out with a female friend and returned home, Whitmore ‘grabbed her by the throat and dragged her to the floor, picked her up by her hair and called her a slag’.

In another incident in September, Whitmore slapped the woman so hard across the face she fell to the floor and then began ‘ragging her about by the hair, strangling her so hard she found it difficult to breathe and threw her to the floor so many times she lost count’.

When examined by a GP the following day, it was found she had perforated her eardrum as a result of the attack.

A third incident happened on December 23 when the pair had meant to be going Christmas shopping together.

Mr Thyne said Whitmore had instead gone drinking with his friends and taken cocaine and when she met him at 7.30pm that evening he was ‘extremely drunk’.

When they went home that night, he slapped her in the face and broke her phone.

A fourth incident occurred on December 28 after the pair had been in The Birley pub, where Whitmore had been in a fight with another man.

When they went home, he strangled her, hit her and threw her to the floor. Whitmore then rang the police and told them ‘My girlfriend is hitting herself in the face, I’m just saying that in case she starts accusing me’.

On January 15, the woman made a suicide attempt by taking sleeping tablets and alcohol.

Mr Thyne said Whitmore was ‘angry because he hadn’t been able to contact her’ and the pair later went to Rother Valley park, where he accused her of cheating on him.

He slapped her in the face and dragged her out of her car in front of shocked onlookers, before stabbing her car tyre.

When she decided to end the relationship later that month, Whitmore made a series of abusive phone calls to her which were recorded by one of her friends.

In the calls, Whitmore told the woman ‘I’m going to snap your neck and I mean it’ and ‘You think I’m only messing about, I will only leave you alone when I kill you’.

After she reported him to the police, Whitmore told officers the incidents described had either not happened, the victim had caused the injuries herself or he had been retaliating to being attacked himself.

As part of his bail conditions, Whitmore was living in Huddersfield when on February 22 he decided to take a housemate’s van and drive to Sheffield.

At around 5.50pm that day he was driving along the A57 Mosborough Parkway on the wrong side of the road and ploughed into a Fiat going in the opposite direction.

All three of the passengers in the other car had to be cut out of their vehicle by firefighters.

The driver and front-seat passenger escaped with minor injuries, but the person in the back seat needed two operations and a skin graft and was told by doctors he was fortunate to be able to walk again after spending 11 nights in hospital.

Defending, Vanessa Saxton said both Whitmore and the victim were users of ‘illicit substances’ and their relationship ‘didn’t have a calming influence on either of them’.

She said Whitmore had been in a new relationship for seven months who he has had no problems with.

Ms Saxton said Whitmore wanted to apologise both to his former girlfriend and the people he injured in the car crash, which she said he believes was caused by him ‘aquaplaning’ during bad weather.

Sentencing, Judge Mark Gargan said: “The offences against your former girlfriend to which you have pleaded guilty to represent a course of conduct over a period of about six months.

“This conduct appears to be a product of your obsessive jealousy.

“You reduced a vulnerable woman from a previously happy state to one in which she was driven to contemplate suicide.”

Whitmore was sentenced to three years and 10 months in jail after previously admitting charges including five counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, criminal damage, malicious communications, aggravated vehicle taking and driving without due care and attention.

He was also given a restraining order for five years and will be disqualified for driving for two years after he is released from prison.