Kidnapping terror of ex-partner

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A MAN kidnapped his terrified former partner from her new boyfriend’s home shortly after being released from prison for harassing her, a court heard

Anthony Prior found Joanna Halliwell alone at the house in Heritage Way, as her boyfriend had gone out and she was speechless with shock when he walked in.

Mr Harry Pepper, prosecuting at Liverpool Crown Court, said: “He grabbed her by the arm and dragged her across the room to the front door. He grabbed her around the throat and dragged and half carried her by the waist down the stairs and put her in his van. She was petrified and thought he was going to kill her.”

After half an hour he stopped by some shops in Bryn and she walked barefoot into a shop. Liverpool Crown Court heard that 27-year-old Prior has a previous conviction for assaulting her. He had also been jailed for six weeks for harassing her and a restraining order banning him from contacting her was made by magistrates on July 29 – just weeks before the kidnap.

Mr Pepper said that Prior had put photographs of her in her underwear on his Facebook profile and her new boyfriend, Darren Booth, contacted him to take the pictures down.

In an impact statement following the kidnap Ms Halliwell, who has a police alarm in her home, said “I know he has nothing but contempt for the law and would either kill me or make my life a living hell. He is sadistic and a bully. No one should have to live like this.”

Prior, of Sefton Road, Ashton, was jailed for 20 months and banned him contacting Ms Halliwell for five years. Judge Stephen Clarke said: “She is petrified of you. To behave in that way is so serious only a custodial sentence can be justified.”

Mr Kevin Liston, defending, said that before he was jailed for harassment Prior had failed to accept the relationship was over. The harassment was then directed at him by her boyfriend and he became increasingly concerned about threats made to him.

“He had gone round to reason with Mr Booth. The offence was impulsive. He made a poor decision.”